September 11 - September 14, 2003
Missionary of Charity Retreat
5th Mission of Mercy Mass
About 2 months ago Aileen C invited me to attend a 4 day retreat offered at St. Mary's parish by Fr. Ray Walsh M.C. Fr. Ray is assigned to Guadalupe, Mexico and was here this past March to give a retreat and I met him at that time. I decided that I would like to attend his retreat.
As the time approached and the date of the retreat got closer I started to have mixed feelings about wanting to go. I don't know why but for some reason I was not really looking forward to going and spending 3 nights in a sleeping bag at St. Mary's.
September 11th arrived and the retreat was scheduled to begin at 7:30 that evening. I started the day by attending daily mass at "Parish Church". Mary Ann R and I served as Eucharistic ministers. Mass ended at 9:13 and was followed by the rosary. The rosary ended and I glanced at the clock as I walked out of the church and the time was 9:33.
After mass I rode out to the Knights of Columbus hall and fulfilled my yearly bathroom cleaning duty. I then went home and sat down and wrote the September 8th paper and finished it at 12:33. A little later I thought that I had better get my stuff ready for the retreat and pack a few things that I would need. I looked at my watch and the time was 1:33.
I spent the rest of the afternoon doing a few things around the house and later in the afternoon I left to go to the retreat about the time S.C.C. went to pick up C.R.C. at school. I was still not very excited about going and little things just kept going wrong all afternoon.
I was almost to Leesburg when my cell phone rang and it was S.C.C.. She asked me if I knew where my overnight bag was. I looked and it was not in the truck. S.C.C. said it was on the kitchen table. I turned around and S.C.C. met me at St. John's in Warrenton and gave it to me. I thanked her, gave her a kiss and continued on my way to the retreat.
I arrived and seriously questioned myself if I should even be there especially when I did not arrive at 13 or 33 after the hour and the odometer did not say that either.
The retreat started with mass and there were refreshments afterwards. We then converted the CCD classrooms to our bedrooms and I shared a room with Fr. Ray. After we were settled in I walked in the church to pray the rosary. I was alone and not paying any attention to the time whatsoever. The time was 9:33.
This caught me by complete surprise and restored my confidence. After I prayed the rosary I walked out to my truck and caught up the daily journal I keep and was again caught by surprise just as I finished writing everything down. The time was 10:33.
Friday, September 12
I went to bed and had a hard time sleeping. I woke up several times and each time I glanced at my watch and it would say XX:XX:13 or 33. Adoration began at 6 AM and ended at 7. We then had mass in one of the downstairs CCD classrooms so that we did not interfere with the daily parish routine.
We had breakfast in the parish hall and while I was sitting in there I suddenly felt the familiar sense of peace run through me. It was very strong and I knew to look at
my watch. The time was 8:33:00.
After breakfast I took a walk outside around the church and as I was walking back in I met Gianna walking out of the church. She said hello and walked up to me and gave me a hug. She was not part of the retreat, she was just leaving daily mass. I walked in the church and prayed the Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament and finished at 9:33.
We met back with Fr. Ray for the next part of the retreat and he discussed Mother Teresa who founded the Missionaries of Charity. He covered kerygmatik (not charismatic) evangelization. He talked about the Thirst Jesus was referring to while dying on the Cross, that it was not for water to ease his physical suffering but for souls. When the session ended he said to be back at 1 PM.
I rode over to Jim O'Brien's house to take a shower but Jim was not home so I went to St. Joseph's to pray another rosary. I glanced at my watch just as I started the Joyful mysteries of the rosary and the time was 12:13. When I finished and walked out the door of St. Joseph's the time was 12:33.
I returned to St. Mary's and after the next session of the retreat we took another break. I then rode over to visit Sister Genevieve. I took my shower there and returned to St. Mary's and when I arrived the time was 2:33.
The next session started at 3 in the afternoon and Fr. Ray discussed the sin of resentment. He wanted us to examine our conscience and recall our most hardened case of resentment and then he suggested ways to get rid of it. After the session ended he said he would be hearing confessions upstairs for how ever long it took.
I was in the process of examining my conscience when I suddenly realized that I only thought I had forgiven the baby sitter for beating up C.R.C.. I realized that I still held resentment when I learned that her husband may be our next elected official and that angered me. Therefore my forgiveness was not complete. As this thought CRASHED through my mind I glanced at my watch and the time was 5:33:33 and I knew what I needed to confess.
I sat in the confessional and discussed this with Fr. Ray and he gave me a penance that I found very difficult at first. He explained a prayer that Mother Teresa taught for resentment and assigned it to me. It went like this: On each bead of the rosary I had to pray the following prayer:
I forgive (babysitters name) for hurting me, in Jesus name.
I bless (babysitters name) for hurting me, in Jesus name.
I thank God for (babysitters name).
At the very instant I finished and kissed the crucifix on my rosary I felt another surge of peace run through me and I looked at my watch and it said XX:XX:33.
This was the highlight of the retreat for me because at that very instant I felt like I can finally and completely forget this entire ordeal. I felt like I should even burn the old newspapers that covered the court trial and the police photos of C.R.C.
We ate dinner down in the parish hall and then the last session of the day started at 8:33 and ended at 9:33. That was followed by adoration. I then went to bed.
Saturday, September 13
When I woke up the next morning Fr. Ray asked me to go in the church and light the candles for adoration. It caught me by complete surprise when I just happened to notice as I lit the first candle that the time was 6:13.
We had about an hour of adoration and that was followed by breakfast. We then had another session of the retreat. When that session was over there was a long break and I thought Fr. Ray said to be back at 11:30 so I rode over to the Grotto of Lourdes. When
I arrived the odometer was 13. I planned on praying a rosary but very shortly after I arrived it started to rain very hard so I decided that I would pray my rosary at St. Joseph's.
When I arrived at St. Joseph's they were preparing for a memorial mass for someone who had died. A lady asked me if I was there for the mass and I said no. She said I was welcome to stay. I entered the very back pew and glanced at my watch as I started the
rosary and the time was 10:33.
I offered the rosary for the person the mass was for. I finished the rosary before the mass started and left. I glanced at my watch just as I walked out the door and it said XX:XX:13.
I drove back to St. Mary's and Allen Harris was getting something out of his truck and he said I was late because the session had started at 11. I went down to the retreat room and glanced at my watch just as I sat down. The time was 11:13:33
Later in the afternoon I had a sudden thought that Our Lady was going to give another message. It was so strong that if I had
been in "hometown" when it hit I would have driven to Emmitsburg. I looked at my watch and the time was 1:13. The same thing happened at 1:33.
After lunch I went back upstairs to the church for adoration and to pray another rosary. I finished the rosary and the time was 2:13. Later the bell rang signaling the start of the next session and I took my seat. Fr. Ray then asked me to go upstairs to our room and get his bible. I got it for him and returned to the classroom and handed him his bible at 3:33.
The session ended and Fr. Ray suggested that we pray the rosary, I went upstairs and prayed another rosary. At the very same time I finished the rosary Fr. Ray came in and put the Blessed Sacrament back in the tabernacle. The time was 4:33.
At about 6 PM the bell rang and we had daily mass in the retreat room and that was followed by dinner and a video about the life of Mother Teresa. The retreat officially ended at this point but people were not scheduled to leave until the next day. I had already told Fr. Ray that I would be leaving on Saturday night because of my parish duties at "Parish Church". I told him that the highlight of the retreat for me was the Mother Teresa prayer for resentment for the babysitter. I told him that I planned on burning all pictures and newspapers. He said "Yes, you no longer have permission to keep them, it is behind you."
I left and started driving back to "hometown". I stopped at St. Joseph's on the way just to say thank you and arrived there at 9:33. I walked up to the corner of the church and kissed it and got back in my truck to go home. I pulled out and the odometer switched to 33. I drove home and went to bed.
Sunday, September 14
I got up pretty early this morning and I sat down to say a few prayers. I glanced at my watch and the time was 7:33. I drove to "Parish Church" and arrived at 8:13:00. Dana Newberg and I traded masses as Eucharistic minister. CCD followed and then I drove home and arrived at 11:13.
C.R.C. and I rode back to Emmitsburg because he was asked to be an altar server at the 2 PM Mission of Mercy mass at St. Mary's. We were running a little late but it did not matter because the mass does not start until after the rosary. I glanced at my watch as we pulled out of the driveway and it said XX:XX:13. We stopped at St. Joseph's first and just went in to say a quick prayer. We went back to the car and when we pulled out to go to St. Mary's the time on the dash was 2:13.
We arrived at St. Mary's and the rosary was in the 4th decade. C.R.C. served and again there was a very good attendance. Jim O'Brien did the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Refreshments followed downstairs in the parish hall. When everything was over
we helped clean up a little and I asked Roberta and Jim if they wanted to ride over to the Grotto and they said yes. Jim does not have a car so he rode with us. We pulled out of St. Mary's and the time was 5:13.
We arrived at the Grotto of Lourdes at 5:33. We ran in Nathaniel Martin and we prayed the rosary at the Fatima statue. There were 5 of us so each person took a decade. We finished the rosary and the time was 6:13. We said goodbye to everyone except Jim and C.R.C. and I drove him home. Jim lives very close to St. Joseph's and when we dropped him off the odometer said 3.3.
C.R.C. and I started driving home and when we got to Warrenton C.R.C. asked if we could eat at Pizza Hut. I said yes and we pulled in the Pizza Hut parking lot at 8:13. We ate and rode the rest of the way home. We walked in the house and the time on the clock was 9:33.
Sep 16, 2003