Blessed Feast of Our Lady Knock, Queen of Ireland, Queen of Heaven and Earth! Greetings to family, friends and newcomers. May God’s grace and mercy be with you and your families.
August 15th is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Body and Soul into Heaven. At this time of year, we remember fondly our pilgrimages to Ireland. It is in this land that we composed 2 songs: "Queen of Heaven" At St. Patrick's College, Maynooth Seminary and "I Will Meet You Again on the Other Side" at Our Lady of Knock Shrine.
We have traveled in large pilgrimages and small pilgrimages (with Fr. Bill McCarthy from My Father’s House, Moodus, CT and Dr. Rosalie Turton of the 101 Foundation, Washington, NJ) with many great stories to share and many warm memories. But most importantly, we learned about the faith of the people, their struggles, their history which includes wars, persecution of the Church, Penal Laws, the Great Famine, civil unrest, and more. Yet this people remained faithful to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary through the suffering and in good times especially through the power of the Holy Rosary.
For those who have never been on a pilgrimage, we would like to experience it. Pilgrimage is a time of prayer. It can be a time to reconnect more deeply with God, to pray for our families and situations – a time to surrender and rest in the Goodness of the Lord. We also meet good people who have the same belief and attitude. We are still in contact with pilgrims. We pray for each other. Because we are going to Holy Places, shrines, monasteries, and apparition sites in various places and speaking and listening to visionaries, we are taken out of our “comfort zone.” We pray, we sing, laugh and we cry, and go home tired, yet filled with the Lord.
In this blog, we are going to share memorable moments from our journeys with Fr. Bill, Rosalie and the pilgrims.
To prepare for our first pilgrimage to Ireland with Fr. Bill McCarthy which would be during Christmas season, we spent time learning about the history of Ireland, and the Saints who helped bring the Catholic Faith to Ireland. We read about these faithful men and women. We composed a song in honor of St. Patrick using the words of the Irish Blessing. There is much history about St. Patrick his miracles, his 40 day fast and penitential exercises on the mountain, Croagh Patrick. The whole purpose of his prayer was to obtain special blessings and mercy for the Irish race, whom he evangelized. Christianity grew and monastic culture flourished in the 700-800’s. Ireland became known as the “Land of Saints and Scholars.” We also composed the song, "St. Patrick," for this pilgrimage.
Banner for our 1st Ireland pilgrimage
Two outstanding memories in this Christmas season pilgrimage:
As we had Mass @ the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in the late afternoon (which was dark) an elderly gentleman stood by the banner, touched it and prayed for 5 minutes.
Our Lady of Knock
Apparition Church of Our Lady of Knock where the Apparition took place on Aug 21, 1879
Mosaic over the Basilica Altar
Grave of one of the 15 Witnesses in the cemetery of Knock