I have known for the past few weeks that Fr. Al Pehrsson C.M. would be saying the 4:30 mass at St. Joseph’s on August 23, 2003. Fr. Al was the priest who originally opened the doors of St. Joseph’s to the apparitions of Our Lady of Emmitsburg back in November 1993 with Cardinal Keelers permission.
Fr. Al had already been transferred out of St. Joseph’s by the time I arrived in November 1998 and Fr. Michael Kennedy C.M had taken his place as pastor. Fr. Al returned and said mass at the Thursday Night Prayer Group in April 1999 and again in September 1999. These were the only 2 times I ever personally saw Fr. Al at St. Joseph’s in Emmitsburg during the apparitions.
Fr. Al was scheduled to say the 4:30 mass at St. Joseph’s on August 23, 2003 in honor of the 45th anniversary of his ordination as priest and I had planned on going.
I attended daily mass that day at "Parish Church" and when I got home S.C.C. reminded me that I had promised to take her and her mother and C.R.C. to Luray Caverns. I had forgotten all about this and to be honest it was the last place on earth I wanted to go, but I went. While we were driving to Luray I abandoned all plans to attend Fr. Al’s mass at St. Joseph’s because I did not think there would be enough time.
We arrived at the caverns and took the tour of the cave (for the 5th time) and everybody seemed to be having a nice time. When the tour was over and just as we were exiting the caverns, I thought that there still might be a possibility of being able to go to Emmitsburg. I looked at my watch and the time was 11:13.
S.C.C. and her mother walked around the gift shops and C.R.C. and I walked through the antique car museum. We then got something to eat and left. We drove back to "hometown" and arrived at S.C.C.’s mothers house at 1:33. S.C.C. said there were some chairs that needed to be moved over to our house so I loaded them on the truck and took them home. I unloaded the chairs and when I finished I left to go to St. Joseph’s.
I drove to Emmitsburg and when I arrived at St. Joseph’s there was no place to park. The lot was full, the street was full. I finally found a place to park about 200 yards down Irish Town road and had to walk back to the church. Just as I arrived Dr. Mike Sullivan walked in the church just before me and I followed him in. I looked at my watch just as I stepped in the church and the time was 4:33.
There were no seats and the church was packed. There was standing room only. Dr. Sullivan went up in the choir loft and about 5 minutes later Gianna arrived and went up there too.
Fr. Al said mass and Fr. Kennedy was the co-celebrant. I have not seen a crowd like this in St. Joseph’s since the days of the apparitions on Thursday nights. It was abundantly clear that support for Fr. Al and therefore Our Lady of Emmitsburg is still running very strong and will eventually crush the feeble attempts to destroy it. Mass ended and I glanced at my watch as I walked out of the church and the time was 5:33.
I was walking back to my truck to go home when I was stopped by Phil C. Phil invited me to a party at Shirley Dillion’s house to celebrate Fr. Al’s 45th ordination as a priest. I accepted and rode with Phil and his wife Aileen. We arrived at Shirly’s house and the party for Fr. Al was very nice. It was the first time I ever personally met and talked to Fr. Al. After a while Phil came up to me and said they were ready to leave. We walked back to Phil’s car and started backing out to leave at 7:33. Phil and Aileen drove me back to St. Joseph’s. After they dropped me off I walked around the church and prayed my daily rosary. I then walked down the street where my truck was parked and drove home. I glanced at my watch at the very instant I pulled in my drive way and it said XX:XX:33R_____ C___
Sep. 4, 2003