First Friday & Saturday

March 4-5, 2005

This is going to be a difficult paper to write. The reason is because I have to sit here and try to describe something that most people would find ridiculous. This past February 23rd I had just returned to my pew after receiving Holy Communion at the 6:30 AM mass at St. Joseph’s in Emmitsburg. I had my eyes closed while I was praying and when I opened them I instantly saw the suffering Face of Jesus in the wood grain on a pew a few rows in front of me.

It was so clear it looked like it was painted on by a master artist. When mass ended I waited for people to leave and I walked up to it to take a closer look. As I got closer it disappeared and I realized that it was just the natural design of the wood grain. I went back to my pew and as I got further back the image clearly came back into view. I remained in the church for a few minutes looking at the image and then left to go to work.

Since that time there have been numerous times that I would suddenly remember and see that image in my mind only to be hit with a sudden and totally unexpected 13 or 33. It happened so often that I knew I had to show it to someone. It was the following First Saturday, March 5th that I brought it to anyone’s attention except for S.C.C. who I had already told the day after I first noticed it.

Friday March 4th

As I pulled out of my driveway this morning to go to mass at St. Joseph’s I thought about the Face of Christ in the wood grain of a pew in St. Joseph’s. It was at that instant I noticed the odometer was 13. I drove to St. Joseph’s and I looked at my watch as I walked in the church for mass and the time was 6:33:33.

Like every Friday after the 6:30 mass there was coffee and doughnuts in the parish hall. I walked over and got a cup of coffee for the ride to work. As I walked to my car I noticed the incorrect time on the church clock tower was 6:33. I glanced at my watch at that instant and it said XX:XX:13. I got in my car and at the instant I pulled out the CD counter flashed 13.

I arrived at work in Manassas and ended up in a very long meeting that consumed the entire morning. Just as the meeting ended Frank K walked up to my desk to see if I was ready to go to All Saint’s and pray the rosary. Frank and I took our lunch break and rode across the street to All Saint’s. At the instant we arrived the odometer was 3.3. I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33 and at the same time the CD counter flashed 13. Frank and I prayed the rosary individually and when I finished I glanced at my watch at the instant I kissed the crucifix and the time was 12:13:33.

Frank and I rode back to work and went in the cafeteria to get something to eat. When we finished I went back to my desk. Later in the afternoon my phone rang and it was a co-worker from India named Praveen L__. Praveen is a member of the Episcopal Church but knows about Emmitsburg because I have told him about it.

Praveen asked for directions to St. Joseph’s. He said he needed to drive his wife to Frederick, Maryland for an appointment and wanted to visit St. Joseph’s while he waited for her. I gave Praveen the directions. I never mentioned anything about meeting him once he arrived. I did not even know what time he would be arriving except it would be in the morning. That’s all I knew. A few minutes later another co-worker, Cathie P who is a fallen away and very bitter Catholic walked by my desk. Suddenly at that very instant I knew that at some point I was going to be given the opportunity to help her. It was so strong I glanced at my watch and the time was 3:13:33.

Later when I got off work I drove back to Emmitsburg. I arrived at St. Joseph’s and the odometer was 3.3 and the time was 7:13. Stations of the cross were in progress but I did not go in because we had our LMC study group tonight at Dr. Joe F’s house. Just as I pulled out from St. Joseph’s I met a truck with a large 33 painted on the back. I drove straight to Joe’s house and when I arrived I glanced at my watch as the car came to a complete stop. It said XX:XX:13.

After the LMC study group was over I drove straight to St. Joseph’s for First Friday adoration. I arrived at St. Joseph’s and met Fr. Steve as I was walking towards the church. He stopped me and we just chatted for a few minutes. I then walked in the church and started the Glorious rosary before the Blessed Sacrament. The time was 9:13.

I finished the rosary and then I drove home. I fell asleep in a chair in the living room.

Saturday March 5th

When I woke up several hours later I rode back to St. Joseph’s. I looked at my watch as I walked in the front door and the time was now 1:33:33. Phil C was there and was not feeling well because of a cold and the strong smell of fresh paint in the church. I wanted to show Phil the image of Jesus in the pew but I did not because of other people being in the church.

Phil asked if I could take his last hour from 2 to 3 and I told him I would. During this time I sat in the pew praying the Sorrowful rosary. I found it very difficult not to look at the image of Jesus during this time. When Phil’s adoration replacement arrived at 3 AM I left and drove home. While I was driving home I had a crashing and sudden thought that I should go to the 8:30 mass at St. Joseph’s and that I would meet Praveen L there. This sudden thought was so strong and clear it almost startled me. At that instant I noticed the CD counter flash 333. I arrived home and pulled in my driveway and the time was 3:13.

I went to bed and fell asleep right away. Later in the morning I got up and told S.C.C. that I was going to help her set up the First Saturday breakfast for the LMC meeting at St. Mary’s but I was going to go to mass at St. Joseph’s. We set up the breakfast (bagels, cream cheese and fruit) and then I left and drove to St. Joseph’s. When I arrived the time on the dash was 8:13 the odometer was 3.3 and the CD counter flashed 13. I felt the strong sense of peace as I walked in the church so I glanced at my watch and the time was 8:13:59.

Mass started and Praveen had not shown up as I though he would. A few minutes later I heard the door open and I looked back and it was Praveen. Suddenly the feeling of peace hit me. My mind went straight back to when I was driving home from St. Joseph’s last night and thought about Praveen. I glanced at my watch and the time was 8:33.

I got Praveen’s attention and he came and sat next to me. He was surprised to see me and was even more surprised that he arrived for mass. After mass Praveen told me that he would be leaving for India later tonight because his father died last night. He said he would like to go to the Grotto of Lourdes and get a jug of water. I told him that I would go with him. I started my car to leave and the CD counter flashed 13. Praveen followed behind me. We walked through the Grotto and Praveen stopped at the Lourdes shrine and prayed for his father and lit a candle for him. I could not help but notice that when he did this the time was 9:13. We completed our walk through the Grotto and Praveen said he needed to leave and pick up his wife in Frederick. We left and when I pulled out the time on the dash was 9:33.

I drove back to St. Mary’s and joined in the LMC meeting that was already in progress and when it finished the time was 11:13. After the meeting I mentioned to Brian F and Sharon L that I wanted to show them something at St. Joseph’s. S.C.C. and C.R.C. wanted to go too. We all met at St. Peter’s books and left from there to go look at the image of Jesus in the pew. We arrived at St. Joseph’s and walked in the door and the time was 12:13.

I pointed out the image and everybody saw it clearly. I took some pictures of it but you can not see it as clearly in the pictures as you can in person. Later in the afternoon I was getting my haircut at Wayne Warthen’s house and I mentioned it to him and his wife. Just as I was telling them about it I noticed the time on their stove was 2:13. Wayne and Cathy wanted to go see it. We arrived back at St. Joseph’s and I glanced at my watch as we walked in the door and it said XX:XX:13. I pointed out the image and they both saw it too. We left and as we walked out the door I glanced at my watch again and it said XX:XX:13.

I felt good that I was not the only person who could see the image. Later in the evening S.C.C. asked me to go get something at the store. I did and when I arrived in town I stopped at St. Joseph’s just to say thank You. The time was 6:33.

R_____ C____

Mar 13, 2005

12:13 Am