It Was 20 Years Ago Today I First Set Foot In The Grotto Of Lourdes In Emmitsburg

Friday July 3, 1998 - Tuesday July 3, 2018


It does not seem possible that it has been twenty years since I visited the Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg for the very first time. When I think back to that day and all that has happened as a result since that time, it almost makes me feel like I could crumple to the ground. Nothing and I mean nothing in my life can even come close to this life changing event. I was NOT looking for this but this event starting at the Grotto and soon  taking me to St. Joseph’s for the apparitions of Our Lady of Emmitsburg has not only brought me closer to God than I ever thought possible but the members of my family as well. S.C.C. converted to Catholicism after attending the Thursday Night Prayer Group at St. Joseph’s and our son   is now strongly considering joining the Missionaries of The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary M.SS.CC. and  becoming a priest.

It was on this day twenty years ago I made a firm commitment to God that I would get C.R.C. baptized in the Catholic Church. C.R.C. was baptized the following October 3, 1998. I described this event in the letter dated December 8, 1998 and it is included in this collection of papers. With this little bit of background I will now describe the events of July 3, 2018 which is the 20th anniversary of the most important day in my life.

Last week S.C.C. and I traded  in our truck and got a 2019 Corolla to take its place. It is more practical and both my mom and  S.C.C.’s  have an easier time getting in and out of it. S.C.C. and I decided that we would like to ride up to Emmitsburg and  stop at the Grotto for the 20th anniversary and to say hello to C.R.C. who is currently working full time there. We started the day by attending mass at “Home Parish” in “Home Town”. Mass ended and I had a few errands to run before we could leave. After we were on the road we were delayed by heavy traffic between Luckets and Point of Rocks on Rt. 15. This slowed the trip considerably and as a result we arrived at St. Joseph’s in Emmitsburg at the very instant the clock on the dash switched to 12:13.

S.C.C. and I walked up to the front door but the church was locked as it has been since shortly after the closure of the Thursday Night Prayer Group. We got back in the car and just as we were getting ready to back out a truck pulled up and parked in the parking spot right next to us despite the fact there were many parking slots to choose from. This truck parked in such a way that it made it difficult for me to get out. As I was maneuvering to get out I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed his license plate was 33.

S.C.C. and I then rode to the Grotto to pick up C.R.C. and take him to lunch during his lunch break. We parked and saw C.R.C. walking through the parking lot towards us. He got in the car and the time on the dash was 12:33. C.R.C. noticed this and made the comment “Looks like this is the right time to get in the car”.  We rode to Carleo’s Restaurant and ate lunch and after we finished we drove C.R.C. back to the Grotto, stopping at St. Joseph’s first and when we arrived at St. Joseph’s the odometer was 13.

We arrived back at the Grotto and C.R.C. returned to work. S.C.C. and I then walked to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to pray a rosary for C.R.C.’s discernment to the priesthood. It was extremely hot and humid and we had to move once in order to get out of the sun it was so hot. We prayed the Glorious Mysteries and I glanced at my watch as we finished and the time was 2:13. We continued the rosary with the Luminous Mysteries and C.R.C. arrived at the last Hail Mary of the 2nd decade to pray the rosary with us. We were not expecting him. We finished the Luminous Mysteries as a family and as we finished I glanced at my watch and the time was 2:33:00.

At that point C.R.C. returned to work and I was very happy that today’s 20th anniversary was such a wonderful one. S.C.C. and I rode back to “Home Town” and had to stop to get gas on the way. We arrived back in our driveway and the time on the dash was 5:33.


R. C.

July 17, 2018

2:13 PM