Nineteenth Anniversary of Taking the Picture of Our Lady of Fatima

September 23, 2017


It was in my earliest days of Emmitsburg that I took the picture of Our Lady of Fatima at the Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg preparing for C.R.C.’s baptisim. I remember the feeling of peace that overcame me at the very instant I clicked the shutter. I also remember seeing nothing like what showed up on the photo the day it was developed on December 8, 1998.

I also think about the fact that I took this picture before I ever knew Our Lady was appearing just down the road at St. Josephs. Little did I know about the spiritual journey I was about to embark on that would keep me focused on God for years to come. Looking back on it, I realize I have been blessed by God far beyond what I deserve. There is nothing I can ever do to properly repay Him except to love Him.

In one of my feeble attempts to thank God for the blessings and gifts He has given me is to travel to the Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg every September 23rd, the anniversary of the day I took the picture. I did pretty good in the early days but for one reason or another there were years that I did not make it to the Grotto on that day.  It was my own fault and I felt like I had broken my promise those years and I had. This year I made a firm commitment that I would make it regardless of other obligations and I did. This is how it went:

I had originally planned on not accepting any mortgage closings today because I would be travelling to Emmitsburg but somehow it slipped my mind and I accepted a 4 PM closing in Charlottesville. After I accepted the job I remembered that I was going to Emmitsburg. I also realized I could make the trip and still be back in time for the appointment.

I wanted to take the truck to Emmitsburg so I dropped S.C.C. off at The bakery where she works at 8 AM. My original plan was to wait for the 8:30 daily mass at "home parish" then leave for Emmitsburg but it suddenly struck me that I had time to make it to St. John’s in Warrenton for their 8:30 mass. So I drove to St. Johns and walked in the front door of the church and the priest was holding the Monstrance during Benediction and I suddenly found myself kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament. I glanced at my watch and the time was 8:33.

A few minutes later mass started. The priest was Fr. Kevin Fimian. During his homily Fr. Fimian talked about St. Padre Pio as today is his feast day. Mass ended and Saturday morning confessions began. I got in line and there were about 4 or 5 people in front of me. My turn came and I went in. Fr. Fimian gave me my penance and I went back out into the church to pray it. A rosary was already in progress and I was able to complete my penance in conjunction with a rosary that was already in progress. When that ended I glanced at my watch as I walked out of the church to continue my trip to Emmitsburg and the time was 9:33:00.

As I was driving to Emmitsburg I had a sudden thought that I should stop at St. Josephs first. It was a strong and sudden thought so I glanced at my watch and it was XX:XX:33 (33 seconds). More than an hour later I arrived at St. Josephs and when I did I glanced at my watch and it was 11:33.

I then left and drove straight to the Grotto of Lourdes. I sent my son, C.R.C. a text telling him that I had arrived. C.R.C. works at the Grotto and will be attending classes at Mt. St. Mary’s next semester. C.R.C. loves his job there. I sat down on the bench at the statue of Our Lady of Fatima where I took the picture 19 years ago today and started the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary. I was only a few Hail Mary’s into it when C.R.C. walked up and joined me. A few Hail Mary’s later he had to leave because he was being called by another employee to help with something at the Grotto. C.R.C. returned in time to complete the rosary. I asked C.R.C. if he wanted to pray another rosary but he said he would miss mass if he did. We finished the rosary we had already started and I glanced at my watch and the time was 12:13.

We got up and started walking out and stopped by C.R.C.’s car to get a copy of the picture I took that has been printed on canvas because C.R.C. and I want to give it to Fr. <name withheld> as a gift. C.R.C. went to mass and I left to go straight to Charlottesville for my mortgage closing. I arrived at the closing and then had to wait about 10 minutes because the borrower’s wife was running late. Anyway I completed the closing and when I started my truck to leave I noticed the time on the dash was 4:33.

I was driving home and thought I might go ahead and attend mass at Our Lady of The Blue Ridge in Madison since its right on the way home. I arrived and had a difficult time finding a parking spot. I had to make my own. I walked in the church and mass was just starting. Fr. James Bruse was the priest. Mass ended and I glanced at my watch and the time was 5:33:33.

I drove the rest of the way home and as I arrived at the entrance of my driveway I had to wait for an oncoming car to go by and it had the license plate of 33. I walked in the house and the time on the clock was 6:13.



Sep 29, 2017

5:13 PM