We had a wonderful 10 day excursion with 96 people who journeyed with us to observe the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Mother appearing to three young children in 1917 at Fatima. It proved to be the most significant prophetic event of the 20th century with “Russia spreading her errors throughout the world.”
To say this trip was special would be an understatement. Maybe it is our age, maybe the spiritual level of the pilgrims, maybe knowing things are upside down in the world, and possibly heaven is ready to play its hand because man has messed things up so badly.
Touring and celebrating Mass in Lisbon at the birthplace of Saint Anthony of Padua with Mass, visiting the beautiful port of Porto (home of Port wine), seeing the majestic cliffs and of the shores of Portugal, touring the end of The Way or The Camino—at Santiago de Compostela where pilgrims have been trekking the route for over 1,000 years. These were some of the great places we visited.
We visited the church of the Eucharistic Miracle in Santarem. After Mass we stood in line to view the miracle on display that happened in 1247. As we walked by, many in our group experienced the beautiful scent of roses.
We saw Garabandal for the first time since we first journeyed there in 1994. We again were reinforced by the mysticism around what was said there from 1961 to 1965 by the Blessed Mother. Saint Padre Pio, Pope Paul VI, Saint Mother Teresa, and Saint John Paul II were open in their belief of those apparitions. Events will happen as the Blessed Mother said, but not as we think. The city of Santander is arguably one of the great cities in the world on the shores of the Bay of Biscay—the place where royalty vacationed due to a more temperate climate than the hot south the Costa del Sol of Spain.
Then we traveled across the Pyrenee Mountains of Spain to France, and onto the gem of Lourdes, France, and experienced again how heaven revolutionized cultural life in that part of the world and beyond, as millions journey there every year to hear what the Blessed Mother spoke to a young Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. There the group experienced the baths, Mass, talks, confession, adoration, walks, the life size stations, and wonderful meals in one of the closest hotels to the grotto, only several hundred yards from the river.
However, what really made the trip, was meeting new people and hearing their stories. Everyone has a story and when you meet in the intimacy of such a trip you hear the pathos of life from so many. All had private intentions and many were in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving for what the Lord had to offer. As relationships developed came more openness, and several shared with us via texts and e-mails, their answered prayers. That alone is reason to make the journey as God honors our commitments — as it is a pilgrimage, not a vacation.
Several people asked us if we are going to do another trip, and we are seriously exploring that now. You will be hearing from us in about a month after the details are ironed out.
Many thanks to everyone for a wonderfully rich spiritual experience enjoyed by all.
Ted & Maureen Flynn