As I drove out of the Grotto I thought I would go to Gettysburg, Pa. which is about another 15 miles north to take care of some business at some of the local Civil War relic shops. On my way I took a short detour through the town of Emmitsburg, Md. As I was driving through I noticed there were lots of people at Saint Joseph’s Catholic church. I stopped and it was explained to me that the Blessed Virgin Mary appears there every Thursday evening to Gianna Talone Sullivan during the Rosary and delivers a message through her. This has been going on for about 5 or 6 years. I decided I was going to stay since I was already there.
Once you have secured your seat you have to leave something to hold your place such as a book, sweater or anything that shows the seat is occupied. Once that is done you can leave the church and they will issue you a return pass that will get you back in the church for the Rosary. It turned out that I got the very last available seat. That was 1 o’clock in the afternoon and it did not start until 7 o’clock in the evening. Sometime later that afternoon I walked across the street to the parish hall to find the restroom. I asked a man who was in the parish hall for directions. When I came out he struck up a conversation with me and we talked for about 20 minutes. At the end of our conversation he asked me if I would mind doing him a small favor, I said yes not having the slightest idea what it was but figuring it was something small that could probably be done in the next few minutes. He asked me if I would lead the 5th decade of the Rosary during the apparition of the Blessed Mother that evening. My first thought was “No, I can’t do that”. My second thought was an instant flashback in my mind of a few hours earlier in the day at the Grotto when I touched the hand of the statue of Mary at the precise instant the bells chimed. The sound in my head of the bells was just a loud and just as startling as it was when it actually happened a few hours earlier. I actually jumped. My third thought was “I will lead the Rosary” and I did. It is hard for me to describe what I was thinking as I was leading the 5th decade in front of a microphone at the front of Saint Joseph’s church standing just a few feet in front of the visionary, Gianna Talone Sullivan and a filled to capacity church. Coincidence ? No way.
There was something else that happened that night that I did not include in the letter to my then Protestant family and have never revealed except to my mother so I will tell it now.
I had been given the 5th decade of the rosary that night as described above. I was very nervous as I waited for my turn. I was keeping my eye on Gianna when suddenly I saw a burst of blue/purple light that suddenly appeared about 4 or 5 feet in front and above Gianna. The light was the same as the spot that is left after a flashbulb flashes in your eyes. This blue, circular orb of light gently floated down towards Gianna. At the very instant it reached her is the very instant she bolted to the floor on her knees and the apparition started. This was the one and only time I ever witnessed this.
After I finished my morning work I rode to "Parish Church" and prayed the Glorious mysteries of the rosary during my lunch break. When I finished the rosary I glanced at my watch and the time was 12:13.
I returned to work and I could not help but remember last year on this day how I completely forgot it was the anniversary of my first Thursday Night at St. Joseph’s and how I ended up there anyway. This made me want to offer at least a token of my thanks by going later tonight and finishing the rosary at St. Joseph’s. I wanted to leave early enough that I could go in and pray but I knew that was impossible. I went home after work and ate dinner and then left to go to St. Joseph’s to finish the rosary. As I was getting in the car to go I glanced at my watch and the time was 6:13.
I got about as far as Leesburg and it started raining very hard and traffic was moving slowly. I arrived at St. Joseph’s and there was nothing special to me about my arrival time or the odometer. I got out and started the 2 remaining mysteries of the rosary. I prayed the Joyful and Sorrowful as I walked around the church on the sidewalk.
When I made the turn down the right side of the church I noticed there were some lights on. At first I thought someone just forgot to turn all the lights out. While still praying the rosary I walked up to the front door of the church and walked right in. I entered the back pew on the left side while still praying the rosary.
There were a few people in there who were getting ready to leave out the back door from choir practice. When they saw me in the church one of them asked how I got in. I told her I saw the lights on and came in through the front door. She then said “I am sure glad you came because we thought the front door was locked. If you had not come the church would have been unlocked all night long. We thought the priest locked the front door at 5”. We said good night and I left through the front door and they locked it behind me. As I walked out the door I knew to glance at my watch and it said XX:XX:13.
I continued my walk around the church until I had finished the rosary. When I finished I looked at my watch and the time was 9:13.
I drove home and since it was Wednesday I stopped in Warrenton for Adoration. When I got there the power had gone out so there was no adoration however the church was open. I prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and then drove home and pulled in my driveway at 11:33.
Nov. 25, 2003