Holy Thursday - Easter Sunday
17-19 April 2003
When I got up this morning I was running a little early. After I got ready for work I went downstairs and sat down next to the burned crucifix and started reading the bible. I read Matthew’s Gospel of Jesus’s Passion and Resurrection. At the very instant I finished reading I became filled with peace. I glanced at my watch and the time was 8:33:00. It was very strong. When it reached its peak I felt compelled to glance at my watch and it said 8:33:13. It subsided and I got up from the chair I had been sitting in and glanced at my watch again, it said 8:33:33. I then went to work in "hometown" a little early because there was no mass because of Holy Thursday. During my lunch break I went to "Parish Church" and prayed the Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. I finished the rosary at 12:13.
When I got home from work I checked the mailbox. I pulled out a handful of mail and I could see a 333 in the corner of one of the envelopes that was in the middle of the stack. That was the only thing visible on that envelope until I pulled it out of the stack. It was a letter from Fr. Michael Kennedy C.M. who is one of the former pastors at St. Joseph’s during the time of the apparitions of The Blessed Virgin Mary. In the letter Fr. Kennedy thanked me for sending him a copy of my testimony. He said many nice things. He also said that the return of the Thursday prayer days “as we knew them in the past 10 years” was unlikely. As I read this I could not help but focus on the “as we knew them in the past 10 years”.
I have never thought that it could return as we knew it. That would be impossible. St. Joseph’s could not manage the crowd then much less what it would be upon reinstatement. I have only thought of its recognized return and validation in whatever unknown way God has in mind. Not a pick up of where we left off. As I was thinking this while I read the letter I suddenly felt compelled to look at my watch and it said XX:XX:33. I finished reading the letter and was again filled with peace. I looked and the time was 5:13. The 333 in the corner of the envelope was part of the return address that reads National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 333 S. Seton Ave. Emmitsburg, Maryland.
After I finished reading Fr. Kennedy’s letter I got ready to go to mass and I had told Barbara Gray that I would pick her up. I told S.C.C. and C.R.C. that I would meet them at church. I drove to the Gray’s house and arrived there at 6:33. I visited with Bob for a few minutes while Barbara finished getting ready. When we got in the truck I could see the joy and excitement in Barbara and I knew this conversion would never have taken place with out Emmitsburg. I said in prayer “Thank You Mary”. At that instant I started the truck and the CD player flashed the number 13 on the dash.
At this point I knew I was going to go to Emmitsburg tonight when everything else was done as I have done the past 2 Holy Thursdays and pray the rosary. After Holy Thursday mass Barbara and I stayed for about 15 minutes of adoration. I waited for Barbara to finish her prayers and make the first move to leave. As we were leaving the church I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33. I drove Barbara home and visited with Bob for a few more minutes. When I left I glanced at my watch as I walked out of the front door. It said XX:XX:13. I drove home and when I got there I sat out in the truck for a few minutes and caught up the note books I keep. With out them I would never be able to accurately write these papers. When I finished I closed the note book, looked up and the time on the dash was 9:13.
I went in the house and changed my clothes and kissed S.C.C. and C.R.C. good night. They were going to bed. I got in the truck and as I pulled out of the driveway the time on the dash was 9:33. While I was driving to Emmitsburg I decided that when I arrived at St. Joseph’s I would pray the 3 remaining mysteries of the rosary. I had already prayed the Sorrowful earlier in the day at "Parish Church". I do not know what time I arrived at St. Joseph’s but it was not 13 or 33 after the hour and the odometer did not display that either. I prayed the remaining 3 mysteries of the rosary and when I finished I got in my truck to go home. The time was 12:33.
S.C.C. said about a week ago that she would like to go to Emmitsburg on Good Friday. I was off from work that day and told her that we would go. Jim O’Brien was scheduled to come home with us for Easter because he has no family to spend it with. When S.C.C. and C.R.C. were finally ready and got in the car we pulled out and the time was 11:33. While we were driving S.C.C. said she wanted to go the the Grotto of Lourdes first. I told S.C.C. “We will do anything and go anywhere you want”. We arrived at the Grotto and the time was 1:13. There were a lot of people there. While we were there it started to rain pretty hard and we were getting wet. S.C.C. then said she wanted to go to St. Joseph’s. We got in the car and drove there. When we arrived the odometer was 13.
We prayed as a family for a while then S.C.C. wanted to ride to St. Peters which is the new Catholic book store that has just opened and proudly displays information about Our Lady of Emmitsburg. When we left there we rode back to St. Joseph’s for the 3 PM Good Friday service. Fr. O’Brien, Fr. Trzecieski and Fr. Goff were there. When it was over I glanced at my watch at the instant we walked out the door. The time was 4:13. We got in the car and at the very instant we started to move the trip portion of the odometer switched to 3.3.
We then rode to Gettysburg Hospital because Sr. Genevieve had another relapse two days earlier. When we got there they told us that she had been discharged at lunch time. I called her and she asked that we stop by before we go home. She said she felt up to it and would be mad if we did not stop. We drove straight from the hospital to Sister Genevieve’s and arrived there at 5:33. She looked tired and was put in the hospital to have fluid drained from her body. We only stayed for a few minutes then drove over to the Palms Restaurant to get something to eat. I dropped S.C.C. and C.R.C. off at the restaurant and I went over to pick up Jim O’Brien. We put his suitcase in the car and when we left the time was 6:13. Jim and I went back over to the Palms and ate with S.C.C. and C.R.C.. After we finished eating we got in the car to go home but rode by St. Joseph’s first and upon arrival the odometer was 1.3.
We started driving back to "hometown" and just before we reached Virginia we got caught is a major traffic backup. We sat on Rt. 15 for a good while before traffic started moving again. It turned out to be a broken down tractor trailer that had traffic all jammed up for miles. It was at this time I learned from Jim about the article in the Catholic Review. It made me feel like I had just been run over by a truck. When we finally arrived home the time on the dash was 9:33 and the odometer was 3.3.
When I woke up this morning the time on the clock next to the bed was 7:33. The article in the Catholic Review left me feeling depressed all day. I am unable to reconcile what has happened in my life and the good that has come from it with what is being said in such articles. It’s like going outside and looking at the sky on a clear day, you see the sky is blue and you have no reason to question that fact because you know the sky is blue. Then someone comes up to you who has not been outside and says the sky is red. That does not change the fact that the sky is blue.
During the day I did a few things around the house and then Jim O’Brien asked if we could ride up to the Catholic Shop in Chantilly. When Jim comes that is his favorite place to go. We went and when we got home we pulled in the driveway at 4:13. I wanted to go to confession so I asked C.R.C. to go with me. C.R.C. and I rode to "Parish Church" to go to confession and pulled in the parking lot at 4:33. We then went home and S.C.C. had dinner ready, we ate and then I left just to be alone for a little while and pray. When I finished I glanced at my watch and the time was 6:13:33.
We got ready for the Easter Vigil mass. When we arrived at "Parish Church", Bob and Barbara were already there. While we were waiting for mass to start Barbara came up to me and asked if I had seen her daughter Vivian (who is Catholic and a CCD teacher at St. John Neumann in Reston) because she was worried that they would not be able to find the church and would be late. Just then they arrived. Again as I watched the happiness on Barbara’s face as she talked to her daughter Vivian, I thanked The Blessed Virgin Mary. I suddenly felt the urge to look at my watch. The time was 8:13.
During mass Barbara was baptized, received the Eucharist and Confirmation. She was about the happiest person I have ever seen.
Just as the choir was finishing the last song they sang the word Alleluia and at that very instant I just somehow knew to glance at my watch and the time was 10:33. After mass we went to the parish hall for the reception. Bob Gray came up to me and asked how Jim was going to get home. I told Bob that I would be driving him back to Emmitsburg tomorrow after lunch. Bob said “I sure would like to ride back to Emmitsburg with you tomorrow when you take Jim home.” I told Bob that he was welcome to go if he wanted to. Bob said “I want to go.” I said we will pick you up after we eat at my mothers house tomorrow. When we left the parish hall and got in the car to go home the time on the dash was 11:13. We drove home, sat down and talked for a while and then went to bed. The clock on the night stand was 12:13.
It felt good to sleep late. When I got up S.C.C., C.R.C. and Jim were sitting at the kitchen table. S.C.C. surprised me with a new wedding band to replace the one I lost. I told S.C.C. that when we have it engraved I would like to have OLOE added to the original inscription. I wanted to do this because She is responsible for S.C.C.’s conversion and making our family what it is today. S.C.C. smiled and agreed.
Later I drove out to "Parish Church" to get the Eucharist for Agnes Corradi and when I got there I prayed the rosary. I then drove out to Our Fathers House and gave her the Eucharist. I then drove back to "Parish Church" to return the pix and arrived at 1:33 but the church was locked.
I then drove out to my mothers house for Easter dinner. Everyone else was already there and I was a little late. After we finished eating, Jim and I rode back to my house to pick up his suitcase. We then rode over to pick up Bob Gray. When we arrived at Bob’s I could not help but notice the clock on the dash was 3:13. I glanced at my watch and it said 3:13:33. Bob was ready and excited about riding with us to take Jim home. We rode in Bob’s handicap van and arrived at the Grotto entrance at 5:33. We dropped Jim off at his house and then Bob and I rode back to the Grotto of Lourdes. While we were there we stopped at the Lourdes shrine and together Bob and I prayed the rosary. At the very instant we finished the rosary I glanced at my watch and the time was 6:33.
Bob was having a wonderful time and told me that his life is so much better since he returned to the church. We spent some more time going through the Grotto and then Bob rolled off to spend some quiet time alone in the Grotto. He went one way and I went another. A little later when I found Bob he was in the parking lot talking to two ladies. When he finished talking to them we got in his van to leave and the time was 7:13. Bob said he was hungry and wanted to get something to eat. We rode back in town but everything was closed for Easter. We stopped for a minute at St. Joseph’s and when we arrived the time on the dash was 7:33. I glanced at my watch and the time was 7:33:33.
We left and ended up going through the drive-thru window at McDonalds in Thurmont. Traffic was extremely heavy all the way home because of the end of the Easter weekend and we needed to stop and get gas along the way. When we arrived back at Bob’s house the time was 10:13.