Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

February 11, 2005

I have worked with Frank K for more than 25 years. About a month ago we were talking in the hall and I mentioned to him that I was going on vacation at the end of March. Frank asked where I was going and I told him I was going to Europe. Frank asked where and I simply replied Bosina & Herzegovina. He asked why I would want to go there. I did not want to even begin to try to explain it to him so I took a scrap of paper and I wrote the word MEDJUGORJE on it and told him to type that word into any search engine on the internet and he would see why I was going.

Several days passed and I did not see Frank at all. I had no idea what his response would be to the word I gave him to look up on the internet. About a week later I ran into Frank and he told me he had read about Medjugorje. After talking to Frank about this for a few minutes I could tell he was very interested. I then mentioned to Frank that the very same thing is currently happening in Emmitsburg, Maryland and other places throughout the world. Frank then looked at me straight in the face and said “That’s why you moved up there. Isn’t it?” I said “Yes it is.” Frank then asked for me to tell him more. Frank then told me he was a fallen away Catholic and had not been to mass or confession in more than 30 years and his children were not baptized in any faith whatsoever.

At this point I was suddenly filled with peace and I felt sure Our Lady was giving me the opportunity to help Frank. I suddenly felt like I should let him read the papers about Emmitsburg I have written over the years. After thinking and praying about this I decided that I would allow Frank to read my papers so I copied them from my computer to a CD and gave it to him along with a copy of the Emmitsburg video “Unbridled Mercy”.

Several days went by and I did not hear anything else from Frank until he came up to me and said he wanted to go to Emmitsburg. He said he would like to take a day off from work and just spend the day there. Frank checked his calendar and asked me if Friday February 11th would be good for me. It was and we both took the day off. In the days leading up to our trip to Emmitsburg Frank would come to my desk and ask questions about returning to the church and every time he did it was 13 or 33 minutes after the hour. At this point I knew this was special.

Frank and I made plans for him to drive to Emmitsburg and I would meet him on February 11th at the Grotto of Lourdes under the Golden Statue of Our Lady. We set a time of 9:30 and I told Frank I would give him a complete tour of Emmitsburg.

February 11th came and when I got up this morning I had a sudden feeling of peace hit me just as I put my watch on. I thought about Frank and glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33. A few minutes later I walked over to my computer to check my email. There was a link to a live web cam picture of the Grotto of Lourdes in Lourdes France. I clicked on the link and it opened up a live picture of people praying at the Grotto of Lourdes.

When I first saw the live pictures from Lourdes it made me think that what is here in Emmitsburg is exactly the same as in Lourdes. At that very instant I felt a strong feeling of peace run through me and so I glanced at my watch and the time was 8:33:33.

It was at that very instant my phone rang and it was Frank saying that he was on his way but was running a little late because of traffic. Frank was traveling from Fredericksburg, Va. I told him to just call my cell phone when he arrived and it would only take me a few minutes to get there. Over the span of the next 15 minutes or so I was bombarded with sudden, crystal clear thoughts that Our Lady of Emmitsburg was bringing Frank back or at least giving him the opportunity to return to the church under Her gentle, watchful eye. Each time this thought crashed through my mind I glanced at my watch and it would say either XX:XX:13 or 33.

Since I had a little extra time while waiting for Frank to arrive I decided that I would go to St. Joseph’s and pray for a little while before meeting up with Frank. I drove to St. Joseph’s and at the very instant I arrived I felt the peace that was caused by knowing Our Lady is tirelessly working and gathering Her children, just as she has said. I glanced at my watch and the time was 9:33:33. I walked in the front door and looked at my watch as I went in the church and it said 9:33.

I really wanted to pray the rosary but I thought I might miss Frank’s call if I did, so I just prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and left. When I returned to my car I saw where Frank had called my cell phone 3 times. Just as I returned Frank’s call I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13.

Frank answered the phone and the very first thing he said was “WOW, That’s the most perfect timing I have ever seen. At the very instant my cell phone rang was the very instant the bells in the bell tower I am standing under rang”. Frank was right under the bell tower that the gold statue of Our Lady stands on and the bells were so loud that we were unable to talk on the phone until they had finished. I could hear the bells through my phone. When the bells stopped I told Frank I would be there in about 5 minutes. I drove from St. Joseph’s to the Grotto and glanced at my watch as I arrived and it said XX:XX:13.

The first person I saw after I arrived was Fr. Jack Lombardi. I mentioned to him that I was meeting someone here who had been away from the church for more than 30 years and this person hoped to be able to go to confession. It was just at that time Frank walked over to us and I introduced him to Fr. Jack. Fr. Jack made an appointment with Frank to hear his confession at 11:30.

Frank and I then started to walk through the Grotto and as we walked I filled him in on many of the things going on around here. As Frank and I talked I realized his sincere desire to return to the church and bring his family with him. We ran into Gianna’s husband, Michael Sullivan and talked with him for a few minutes. A few minutes later Fr. Jack arrived and Frank made his first confession in more than 30 years.

While Frank was in the confessional with Fr. Jack I went into the glass chapel and all day adoration was in progress because of today being the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. When Fr. Jack and Frank came out of the confessional the noon mass began a few minutes late. During Fr. Jack’s homily he said “Today, on this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes a man who has been away from the church for many, many years has made a beautiful confession and has returned to the church”. He then thanked Our Lady of Lourdes. In my heart that was the same as thanking Our Lady of Emmitsburg because They are one and the same.

Mass ended and Frank and I finished walking through the Grotto. We then left to go to St. Peter’s Books to get a cup of coffee and Frank wanted to buy a rosary. He also ended up buying another rosary for his wife and books and videos to help him on his return to the church. When Frank finished at St. Peter’s Books we left and drove to St. Joseph’s. We walked in the church and suddenly I felt the peace run through me. I looked and the time was 2:13.

Frank and I were the only people in the church and nobody else ever came in the whole time we were there which was more than an hour. That gave us a good opportunity to talk openly and I was able to share with him some things that I don’t usually talk about such as my sinful past and how Our Lady of Emmitsburg has and continues to help me. I could see the pain in Frank’s face as we talked and it only reminded me of myself.

As we were leaving Frank wanted to get some holy water to take home with him but did not have anything to put it in. We rode back to St. Peter’s Books and Frank bought 2 holy water bottles. We rode back to St. Joseph’s to get the water and when we arrived the odometer was 3.3.

We got the water and then Frank wanted to walk over to the rectory to get the rosaries he bought blessed. We walked over to the rectory but there was a sign on the door saying the office would be closed on Friday afternoon. Frank then wanted to ride back to the Grotto to get Fr. Jack to bless them. We rode back to the Grotto and Fr. Jack blessed the rosaries. We then rode back to St. Joseph’s to pray the rosary.

Frank and I sat in my old regular Thursday Night seat. I glanced at my watch at the very instant we started the rosary and it said XX:XX:33. I helped Frank get through the rosary and for the most part he led it. He said this was the first rosary he prayed since he was a alter boy many years ago in Brooklyn, NY. When we finished the rosary Frank and I left and he wanted to see my new house. When I started my car to leave the CD display on the dash flashed 33.

Frank followed behind me in his car. We drove out to my house and I gave Frank a copy of the books with the Emmitsburg messages from St. Joseph’s. S.C.C. was cooking dinner for the “I am Your Jesus of Mercy” prayer group which we were hosting tonight at 6 PM. S.C.C. said she needed me to go get some whipped cream so I told Frank he could follow me back to Emmitsburg. I took Frank back to St. Joseph’s because he knew the way home from there. We arrived and the time was 5:33.

Frank thanked me and said he wants to come back and he could feel Our Lady working in his life already. We then left and I went and got the whipped cream and drove home. Several couples were already at our house when I got back for the prayer group that Gianna Sullivan founded.

We started the prayer group by praying the rosary. At the very instant the rosary started I felt the peace run through me. I glanced at my watch and the time was 6:13:00. I again felt the peace just as we finished and I glanced at my watch again and it was now 6:33:33

R_____ C___

Feb. 20, 2005

2:13 Pm