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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage 2016: June 13 (Day 18) Our Lady of Czestochowa, Poland

Dobranoc: (Thanks Rosemarie)

Did you know that daybreak in Poland is at 4 AM?  UGH! The sun is shining shortly after…….and I’m up, thinking I am late.  Even with black out shades the light sneaks in. Now try going back to  sleep!

We wanted to be up early anyway, since we were taking a road trip to Our Lady of Czestowchowa, about 2 hours away.  This is the greatest Shrine to Our Lady in Poland.  Father Tomasz said we were smart to go early (and during the week), the crowds would be small.  Well, we even skipped breakfast, but didn’t get out the door until almost  8:30.

Don’t ask! We were just being leisurely. Well, to  tell you the truth, we have a shower that has 10 heads.  It’s like being in a car wash!  Susan was in it the first night for almost 20 minutes.  We have been fighting over it ever since.  LOL

The traffic wasn’t too bad but there is a lot of construction going on in preparation for World Youth Day when they expect at least 2 million youths and adults to converge on Krakow. God help them.  Many people in the old town and nearby are staying with relatives and renting out their homes, since there are not enough hotel rooms and apartments  The U.S. has the second largest number of people coming, after Italy.  That’s pretty good!

We arrived at the Shrine not expecting what we saw and were amazed at how large and beautiful it was.  Our first stop was  to the chapel of the Icon of the Blessed Mother and Jesus, a Black Madonna,  where mass was about to begin.

We stood against a wall 1/2 half way up  to the altar and could not see anything there were so many  people.  After mass most of them stayed to get to the altar area to pray before the famous Icon, we left and went out to get a  coffee.   Twenty minutes later it was like a bomb scare had gone off as the hordes of people left the Chapel.

We went  back in, only to find that they had covered the Madonna Icon and closed the altar area for cleaning. Most of the people were in groups on tour buses and went to the dining hall for lunch, a perfect time to explore the marvelous shrine.  See photos.

Susan and I had a quick bite at the nearest cafeteria style  restaurant.  It was just food, but we needed something.

We then explored the grounds and the whole Basilica  and went to the adoration chapel to pray the Rosary since the Rosary chapel was  closed.  At the second decade, we stopped, since mass had begun in the icon chapel, and even with the doors closed in the adoration chapel, it was too loud to meditate…..it was  just above the Icon.

We went down to the mass since they allowed people to walk behind the altar and the Madonna where you could venerate many relics in a  glass enclosure.  We waited for the gospel to be finished, took a couple of pictures and went to the back.  We waited for the homily to be over and walked out the other side.

Time to depart since it was after 2 and we thought we would go to Auschwitz, but that didn’t happen, it would have been to late when we  got there and we were tired from the drive.

We went to the apartment  and I have to look at the pictures to remember what we did……….I’ll be  right back.

Ok, I got it.  Susan and I went out for dinner to this nice  restaurant which, when we entered, they said the dining room was closed but  we could sit on the patio.  That sounded great and after we sat and ordered a glass of wine and a bottle of water they said they could give us  blankets.  I thought that it might snow, so we took one each, I  wanted the green one.  This  restaurant is famous for perogies (filled dumplings…an Eastern European specialty)…….and that night they gave a lesson on making them in the garden were we sat.  They  filled the restaurant with the group that learned their secret.

Susan had duck and I had veal chop Milanese.  Both  dinners
were outstanding.  With the wine we had and the rest of  the meal the bill was 160 pln.  After adding a generous tip, we left $48  poorer.  Did I ever tell you I love  Krakow ?????

It was home to shower again and relax; maybe some TV and a good nights sleep.  We have a new arraignment, I’ll tell you about it  later.

There is a story of Our Lady of  Czestochowa below.

Dobrovnic, its close

“What  you are is God’s gift to you,
What  you become is your gift to God.”

May you shine before him.
Susan & Tom

Prayer to Our Lady of  Czestochowa

O Mother of  God, Immaculate Mary, to thee do I dedicate my body and soul,
all my prayers and  deeds, my joys and sufferings, all that I am an all that I have.

With a joyful  heart I surrender myself to thy love. To thee will I
devote my services of my  own free will for the salvation of mankind, and for the help of the Holy Church  whose Mother thou art.
From now on my only desire is to do all things with  thee, through thee,
and for thee. I know I can accomplish nothing by my own  strength, whereas
thou can do everything that is the will of thy Son, Our Lord  Jesus Christ.
Thou are always victorious. Grant, therefore, O Helper of the  Faithful, that
my family, my parish, and my country might become in truth the  Kingdom where
thou reignest in the glorious presence God the Father, God the  Son, and
God the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.

The Story of Our Lady of Czestochowa
The  Monastery of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, Poland, is the third-largest
Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. Home to the beloved miraculous icon
of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the monastery is also the national shrine of
Poland and the center of Polish  Catholicism.

According  to tradition, the icon of Jasna Góra was painted by Luke the
Evangelist on  a tabletop built by Jesus himself, and the icon was discovered
by St.  Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine and collector of Christian
relics in  the Holy Land. The icon was then enshrined in the imperial city of
Constantinople, according to the legend, where it remained for the next  500
The  painting is said to have been given as a wedding gift from the
Byzantine  emperor to a Greek princess, who married a Ruthenian nobleman. The image
was then placed in the royal palace at Belz, where it remained for nearly
600 years.
History  first combines with tradition upon the icon’s arrival in Poland
with a  Polish army fleeing the Tartars, who had struck it with an  arrow.
Legend  has it that during the looting of Belz, a mysterious cloud
enveloped the  chapel containing the image. A monastery was founded in Czestochowa
to  enshrine the icon, and soon King Jagiello built a cathedral around the
chapel containing the icon.
Hussites  (pre-Reformation reformers) attacked the monastery, slashed the
Virgin’s  face with a sword, and left it desecrated in a puddle of blood and

It is said that when the monks pulled the icon from the mud, a  miraculous
fountain appeared, which they used to clean the painting. The  icon was
repainted in Krakow, but both the arrow mark and the gashes from  the sword were
left and remain clearly visible  today.
The  miracle for which the Black Madonna of Czestochowa is most famous
occurred, when Swedish troops were about to invade Czestochowa. A group of
Polish soldiers prayed fervently before the icon for deliverance, and the
enemy retreated.
King  John Casimir declared Our Lady of Czestochowa “Queen of Poland” and
made  the city the spiritual capital of the nation.
Pope  Clement XI officially recognized the miraculous nature of the  image.

September  15, 1920
The  Virgin again came to the aid of her people, when the Soviet Russian
Red  Army gathered on the banks of the Vistula River, preparing to attack
Warsaw. The citizens and soldiers fervently prayed to Our Lady of  Czestochowa
and on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, she appeared in the  clouds above
Warsaw. The Russians were defeated in a series of battles  later dubbed the
“Miracle at the Vistula.”
Pope  Pius XI designated May 3 a feast day in her  honor.
During  Nazi occupation, Hilter prohibited pilgrimages to Jasna Góra, but
many  still secretly made the journey. After Poland was liberated, half a
million pilgrims journeyed to Cz?stochowa to express their  gratitude.
September  8, 1946
1.5  million people gathered at the shrine to rededicate the entire nation
to  the Immaculate Heart of Mary. During the Cold War, Jasna Góra was a
center  of anti-Communist resistance.
Pope  John Paul II, a native of Poland, was a fervent devotee of the Virgin
Mary  and of her icon at Cz?stochowa. As pope, he made pilgrimages to pray
before the Black Madonna in 1979, 1983, 1991, and  1997.
He  held his Sixth World Youth Day at Czetochowa, which was attended by
350,000 young people from across Europe.
May  26, 2006
Pope  Benedict XVI visited the shrine.
Miracles,  Cures, and Signs

In  1430, Hussites (pre-Reformation reformers) attacked the monastery,
slashed the  Virgin’s face with a sword, and left it desecrated in a puddle of
blood and  mud.

It is said that when the monks pulled the icon from the mud, a  miraculous
fountain appeared, which they used to clean the painting. The icon  was
repainted in Krakow, but both the arrow mark and the gashes from the sword  were
left and remain clearly visible today.

In 1655, The miracle for  which the Black Madonna of Czestochowa is most
famous occurred, when Swedish  troops were about to invade Czestochowa. A
group of Polish soldiers prayed  fervently before the icon for deliverance, and
the enemy retreated.

On  September 15, 1920, the Virgin again came to the aid of her people,
when the  Soviet Russian Red Army gathered on the banks of the Vistula River,
preparing to  attack Warsaw. The citizens and soldiers fervently prayed to
Our Lady of  Czestochowa and on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, she appeared
in the clouds  above Warsaw. The Russians were defeated in a series of
battles later dubbed the  “Miracle at the Vistula.”

May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

Tom &  Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)


_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)


Home » Personal pilgrimages with Tom & Sue » Tom & Sue 2016 personal pilgrimage

Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage Jerusalem

Boker  tov again … the same day…….. I am trying to catch up to our trip!

We got up and were out of our apartment and “on the street” at 5:50 A.M.! We were hoping to find a cab and to  reach the Holy Sepulchre for the 6:30 A.M. Mass we had learned of online.  No eggs, no peanut butter, Nada … my culinary expertise did not have time to create a “masterpiece” … LOL.

It took a while to hail a cab and it took even longer to get the cab driver to the Lion’s  Gate.  He kept wanting to drop us off at each gate he came to (I just got here and I think I knew more than him …or maybe he just wanted to get rid of us!).

We had planned to begin our day Walking and Praying the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross) to the Holy Sepulchre where the last of the Five Stations of the Cross are.  Running short of time, and because most of the Shrines of the Stations were not open yet, we did walk the “Way of the  Cross” inour own silent Prayers as we tried to figure it  out.

Entering the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, we had no idea at all of what to expect, even after researching.  We immediately  found ourselves just inside the Holy Doors, kneeling and venerating the Stone of Unction where they prepared the Body of Jesus Christ, after his death, for theBurial in the Tomb. This was an incredible beginning to our day and nothing we had ever expected.

editor’s note:  Often, when on pilgrimage, the unexpected turns out to better than what you had planned, thanks be to God.

Because it was early, there were no crowds and each of us had time to spend and Pray and venerate at this most  Sacred Stone …it was overwhelming to say the least. We then went left, as if we knew what we were doing.  I guess that we did, because it took us to the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre and the Tomb of Our Lord … it was not open yet.  We could hear that Mass was just  finishing inside as people waited outside the closed doors.  We followed the signs to continue to the Chapel of Mary Magdalene , which is directly next to the Sacristy for the Holy Sepulchre. There was a Priest approaching the Sacristy so I stopped to ask him for advice.  He looked very Irish (and it turned out thathe was).  I asked about the Mass Schedule and he told us to go to the Latin Calvary Shrine and explained to  us how to get there (as he was Vesting).  He told me that the Mass was going to be in Italian and I told him that it didn’t matter.  He also told me that the Mass scheduled at the Holy Sepulchre was reserved for that morning and that we would have to stand outside the Shrine.  Once again, he told me and said “You must go to the Mass at Calvary” … walk up the stairs”.

We did so, and we never would have found this area of the Holy Sepulchre on our own, as we climbed the  steep stairs to what we found to be “GOLGATHA” … “CALVARY” … the spot where Our  Lord, Jesus Christ, died on the Cross for each and every one of us … we never expected this (why would anyone?).

As we reached the top  of the steep staircase, we realized that we were standing at THE FOOT OF  CALVARY!  Mass was still ongoing  there, so we quietly waited on the Greek side and, after the Final Blessing, we went up to the Foot of the Cross and Venerated the Stone at the actual Foot of the Crosswhere our Lord, Jesus Christ, died!

It was a unique and emotional moment for each of us, individually, as we took our turn in this most Sacred of Sacred Places.  I was  last, and, when I stood up, a new Priest (the one I had met) was already prepared to begin Mass on the Latin Side.  In the beginning, there were very few in theCongregation and we were  able to sit on the bench near the spot where Jesus was Nailed to the Cross …  directly beside the Altar. I tried to concentrate on Mass as my mind raced and I tried to comprehend where we were at the moment and what, exactly, was going on.  At Communion, it all hit me, and I broke  down crying as I never have in my life … fully aware of my surroundings and the Sacrifice that Our Lord, Our God, made to give each and every one of us Eternal  Life!  The experience and the emotions I felt ….. I don’t know that I can ever explain as I am certain that Susan, Johna & Sam feel the same.

Gathering our wits together, we exited down the long and steep staircase, knowing that we still had a little time before the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre would open so that we would be able to enter and venerate the actual Tomb of our Lord.  So we began (with our Holy Sepulchre Map) to explore the remainder of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

We decided to grab a quick capuccino first and Sam bought a loaf of fresh bread and we all  enjoyed our breakfast!!

We then went to the Church of Saint Helena and the Chapel of the Finding of the Cross.  Both were deep down below the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.  The story of Saint Helena finding the Holy Cross of Jesus is a good one and you are able to find it all on  the internet.

Next, we went to the  Prison of Christ, where they kept him before His Crucifixion. It was closed, so we made our way back to the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre.  We got in line behind about only 12 pilgrims and waited for the Chapel  and Sacred Site to open as Mass had just finished.  We let three Religious Sisters from another Order in front of us.  Of  course, they would or could not talk to us “as different”, but we respected  them.  Again, waiting for the  unknown, our inner excitement grew as they opened the door to the Sacred Site and the Orthodox allowed no more than 6 people to enter.

The first Chapel is the Chapel of the Angel.  This is where the Rock that the Angel moved away from the Tomb of Our Lord at the time  of his Resurrection.  This is where  Mass is celebrated and it is very, very small.  We could see from outside, through a  small opening window and into the actual Tomb where three or four small people could get in and kneel before Our Lord to Venerate the Place where they Laid Our  Savior to rest. It worked out well, so that Susan and I were able to enter the Tomb together, along with one other Religious Sister.  We were able to  venerate the Tomb of Our Lord … words cannot explain … nor were Susan and I talking about it together at the moment.  Susan and I later talked that, while sad, it was not as sad as the site at Calvary … because this was also the place of Our Lord’s  resurrection. Johna and Sam also were able to experience this after Susan and me.  They each have expressed (and have kept  private thoughts) of the experience but both were affected by the  experience.

I can’t imagine the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem and Bethlehem during the High Season, with the  multitude of crowds who push, shove, yell and jockey for position at these Sacred Places.  We all feel Blessed  to have been here “off season” and early so that we missed having to stand in  long lines and to have had the time we did in these Sacred Places this  day.

We decided to go to  the Wailing (Western) Wall in the Jewish quarter.  It was hot and there was a long line at the wall, so we skipped it, and headed for the birthplace of the Blessed Virgin near the exit, the Church of Saint Anne.

We walked by a bakery that had fresh bread and a takeout fafalel store.  I said let’s get it now, but I was vetoed by the others, who said that we could get it later.

The Chapel was very near the exit and the Bakery was the other way so Sam said he would go back and get the bread and fafalel. It was hot and I was hurting, so Sam went alone and we waited… and waited…..and waited.  I figured he was talking to everyone he passed, so we all went back for him.  We met him just at the next gate out, so off we went and found ourselves in the Muslim quarter.  They looked  at us a little funny so we quickly got a cab and were back to the apartment in 20 minutes.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing and organising our next day and went to bed after we got back from dinner.

Another early day  tomorrow.

Layla tov
God Bless all of  you
Love  Susan, Tom  and the Kids

Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows

O Most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the  overwhelming
grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the  crucifixion, and
the death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of  compassion and
awaken in my heart a tender compassion for those suffering, as  well as a
sincere detestation of my sins, in order that, being disengaged from  all undue
affections for the passing joys of this earth, I may long for the  eternal
Jerusalem, and that henceforth all my thoughts and all my actions may be
directed toward this one most desirable object.
Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and
immaculate Mother of God.



Home » Personal pilgrimages with Tom & Sue » Tom & Sue 2016 personal pilgrimage

Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage June 18 (Day 23) Prado Nuevo, Spain

Buenos  Dias:
You got it……….we are back in Spain, (actually we are home, but we couldn’t forget to write this report).  I was too lazy to write on the plane, even though we had 10 hours.

We arrived in Madrid at 8:30 AM and had a rental waiting.  I felt good today (getting over my cold), especially after they gave us a white Mercedes…… perfect!

We drove to Colmenarejo, to Saint James the Apostle’s church to meet up  with Consuelo for Mass.  We had time, so we had some café con Leche and split hunk of a Spanish tortilla (eggs, potatoes and cheese)……..we had to survive until our luncheon later that day.

Mass was at 12:30, so we went to the church and waited for Consuelo.  She was inside and the Pastor whom she knew was waiting for us saw us out side and sent her out. Hugs and kisses abounded and we got so caught up we were almost late for mass.  Our friend, Fr. Guillermo, was hearing  confessions so we wouldn’t see him until after the service.  Today’s Gospel was about the acceptance of all men no matter what nationality and in Father’s homily he let everyone know that we were foreigners, like they couldn’t tell with the big T on our foreheads.

This  will be the last mass until we return home tomorrow.  We have attended mass in 8 different languages, and now I am starting to get confused.

After mass we met up with Fr. Guillermo and we headed to El Escorial to meet his Parents Carmen and Antonio (we call him Toni).  We had met them last year and they took us around and spent a whole day with  us.  They don’t speak any English, but we managed with them and we became very fond of each other.

Dinner was at this very fancy Spanish Restaurant.   They served a 4 course meal that was outstanding from beginning to end.  We joked and talked and  laughed and cried, they all are great people, very warm and loving and very religious.  It was hard to say goodbye after dinner, for Carmen and Toni were going home. Lots of hugs and  kisses we ( with Consuelo) left and went to the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows to pray at the rosary service.

First, we made a stop to see the Sisters at the home for the Elderly.  We had brought them a little something from the Cardinal.  We had a great time them as always, as we talked about our journey. Another priest from the shrine, Father Juan Carlos, came by and joined in with us for quite awhile. Although Father Juan Carlos didn’t speak English, the “Universal Language” kicked in and we had a great time with Father, Consuela and some of the Sisters.

Unfortunately, many of the  other Sisters were assisting the elderly residents or were over at the Prado Religious Store, so we did miss seeing them to bid farewell! We didn’t go in to see the residents, even though I felt better………. we didn’t want to take the chance of giving them my cold, and now Susan was starting to sniffle.

Again, lots of hugs and kisses…….it’s always hard to leave here, and we  left for the shrine.   We were a little late but caught up and the service, which is in the field, where most of the apparitions happened,  ended just before mass at 7:00 PM.  We went to put your intentions in the box before our Lady putting you all in Her care.

We were taking tomorrow off.  (editors note:  how these two do it for 23 continuous days is beyond me.  And Tom is just getting over liver cancer to boot!)

Toni had come to  the shrine, he missed us already, and Father Guillermo was there and we meet  a couple more Priest assigned there. We were so comfortable with them for they  are so holy and peaceful, like most of the Priests we have met over the years in our travels.

Father G. had to get  going since he had Mass at 8 at St. John’s, and Consuelo had to work in the  morning and we had to find out if we still had a hotel room since it was getting late and we had told them we would be early.

Again, more hugs and kisses and a few tears and we all departed, all hoping that God willing we would see each other  again. There are some interesting photos coming.

Our hotel was easy  to find and our room was waiting.   A very, very, nice room to be exact.  We had picked up some snacks earlier  and packed and wrote a report and finally exhausted we went to sleep in this  wonderful bed.  We had a wakeup  call for 8:30 since our flight wasn’t until 1:00 and we didn’t have to rush  today. Our only problem was that Susan had full blown bronchitis and was in  pain.  I started her the  2nd z-pack I had and a little later a decongestant. She felt a  little better after being up.

We got the car back and I didn’t go by a gas station, so I thought they would nail me for the cost of filling the tank, but they said no problem, no  charge.  That’s a first!

We had time before the flight to relax in the lounge and boarded on time, but had to wait to 1 hour to take off.  We slept……no problem, actually Susan slept the whole way after she ate.  It was a greatflight and this was the first plane that had a Bathroom I could stand up in and not feel like I was  going to fall back out the door.

The worst part of the day was Miami customs, as it took almost 1 ½ hrs  to get thru. We picked up our rental and in 2 hours we were home to our new home, that we had only spent 2 days in before leaving.   Everything was fine at the house except cable TV was out, so after a  glass of wine we went to bed.

It’s always good to be home!

We hope you enjoyed  the journey.

May the Peace of  Christ be with you always
Susan &  Tom

We dedicate this  Prayer to all the wonderful Priest we have met on this Journey and to all the  Priest on our prayer list and all our Priest friends and acquaintances we may  have forgotten on the list.

A  Prayer for Priests

Gracious  and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests.
Through  them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.
Help  our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set  their souls on fire with love for your people.
Grant  them the wisdom, understanding, and strength
they  need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire  them with the vision of your Kingdom.
Give  them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow  them to experience joy in their ministry.
Help  them to become instruments of your divine grace.
We  ask this through Jesus Christ,
who  lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.
This  prayer is to be found at the website for the US Conference of
Catholic  Bishops.
Prayer to Mary Queen  of Apostles

Immaculate  Mother of God, Queen of the Apostles, we know that God’s
commandment of love  and our vocation to follow Jesus Christ impels us to
cooperate in the mission  of the Church. Realizing our own weakness, we entrust the
renewal of our  personal lives and our apostolate to your intercession. We
are confident that  through God’s mercy and the infinite merits of Jesus
Christ, you, who are our  Mother, will obtain the strength of the Holy Spirit as
you obtained it for the  community of the apostles gathered in the upper
room. Therefore, relying on  your maternal intercession, we resolve from this
moment to devote our talents,  learning, material resources, our health,
sickness and trials, and every gift  of nature and grace, for the greater glory
of God and the salvation of all. We  wish to carry on those activities
which especially promote the catholic  apostolate for the revival of faith and
love of the people of God and so bring  all men and women into the faith of
Jesus Christ. And if a time should come  when we have nothing more to offer
serviceable to this end, we will never  cease to pray that there will be one
fold and one shepherd Jesus Christ. In  this way, we hope to enjoy the
results of the apostolate of Jesus Christ for  all eternity.

Tom & Susan Melillo

E-Mail: _TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint John Paul  II The Great
for Thomas F. Melillo

O Blessed Trinity, we thank  you for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing  the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and  the splendor of the Spirit of love to
shine through him.

Trusting fully  in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of
He has  given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that  holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way  of achieving eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession,  and according to your will, the graces we
implore …
Especially the  Healing of Liver Cancer for Tom Melillo, through Christ our



Home » Personal pilgrimages with Tom & Sue » Tom & Sue 2016 personal pilgrimage

Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage June 17 (Day 22) Krakow

Bon  Jour,

Today is our last full  day in Krakow and tomorrow night we will be on a layover at the airport in Paris.

I woke up this morning with the sniffles…….great! More fallout from the caves.

We had breakfast in the apartment, since we had so much food, and re-planned our day.   Mass at noon at the Saint John Paul II shrine was perfect  and gave us a chance to relax.  That’s why we like Father Brian’s noon mass and we can understand him too.  Well…… most of the time.

Today, we would leave all the intentions that you had asked to be left here or at the Divine Mercy Chapel and that’s what we did. We did part of the rosary at Saint John Paul II’s and finished in the Divine Mercy chapel, along with the chaplet.  All the rest of the intentions would be delivered to Our Lady of Sorrows on Sunday in Prado Nuevo, Spain.

The sniffles began to increase and I knew that this sinusitis had the chance to become a full-fledged cold, so we went back to the apartment when we were done and I started the Z-Pack that I had gotten from my doctor for the just-in-case bag, along with a  nasal spray.

We had an 8:00 PM dinner planned with Fr. Tomasz, but we decided it was not smart to go and take the chance of getting him sick……. with his busy schedule, he would have infected half of Krakow.  I think he was grateful and we planned to see him in the morning at  9:00 AM.   We did sneak out for a quick bite around 5:30 and had the best Hungarian Goulash ever.

Bed time was early, since we had to get up at 5 AM for Mass that the Cardinal invited us to. We had mass at the Chapel in the residence where St. John Paul II was ordained and spent much  time in prayer, celebration masses and work, at the desk he had in there, so that he could think and write before the Blessed Sacrament.

Mass was at 6:30 AM and the Cardinal celebrated along with two other priests for the nine Sisters plus Susan and I.   This is a place where sanctity seems, not something passing or short lived, but a quality of real people, lives not unlike our own in their challenges, and meeting those challenges through the  grace that makes heroic virtue possible.

We had a brief moment with the Cardinal before and after mass and later Father Tomasz told us he had  told him that I did look a little under the weather and that we were a very pious couple, even though I did snap a couple pictures.

After mass we had a  quick cappuccino, bought some chocolates for the Cardinal and staff and then we went to Saint Francisco across the street and sat in Saint John Paul II’s seat and prayed our rosary. It was a strange feeling being in that pew where he prayed the rosary every day.   I hope some of it rubs off, God knows I can use  it.

I did feel better today, so before leaving we went to the cemetery where the Saint’s parents and  brother were buried.   The Cardinal just dedicated a statue of him next to their graves.   Now this cemetery is huge by any standards and only polish people come here and they don’t speak English, so needless to say, we didn’t find it after 40 minutes of walking around.  We  went back to the apartment and loaded the car and headed for the airport, sorry that  we didn’t have more time.

The flight to Paris went well, other than waiting 40 minutes for the hotel shuttle in the damp rain.  The restaurant was closed, so we walked to the village and picked up some bread, cheese, sardines (this was a no meat day) and a bottle of wine and dined  in.

To bed early, since tomorrow we have a 3:30 AM wake  up
call.   See you in Madrid.

Bon  Soir,
May God bless all of  you,
Susan &  Tom

Oh, Saint John Paul  II the Great, bestow from Heaven your Blessing upon
Bless the Church  you loved, served and guided so well, by courageously
leading Her through the  pathways of this world, by bringing Jesus to everyone
and everyone to  Jesus.
Bless the Youth,  who were at the center of your caring love.  Lead them to
dream once again, lead  them to look above to find the light that will
enlighten the paths of life  here on earth.
Bless the families  … bless each family!  You were  aware of Satan’s
assault against this precious and indispensable spark of  Heaven that God has
ignited on earth.   Oh, Saint John Paul II the Great, with your Prayers,
protect every  family … and every life that blossoms in the family.
Pray for the whole  world still marred by tensions, wars and injustices.
You have opposed war by invoking  dialogue and by sowing love.  Pray  for us,
Saint John Paul II the Great, so that we may become tireless sowers of
Oh, Saint John Paul  II the Great, from Heaven’s window, where we see you
next to Mary, Our Mother,  send down upon all of us God’s Blessings.


Morning Consecration to  Mary

My  Queen, My Mother, I offer
myself  entirely to thee.
And to show my devotion to thee,
I offer thee this day, my  eyes,
my ears, my mouth, my heart,
my whole being without  reserve.
Wherefore,  good Mother, as I am thine own, keep me, guard me as thy
property and  possession.

Tom & Susan Melillo
E-Mail: _TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint John Paul II  The Great
for Thomas F. Melillo

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you  for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing the  tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ and the  splendor of the Spirit of love to
shine through him.

Trusting fully in  your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of
He has given us  a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness is  the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of achieving  eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession, and according  to your will, the graces we
implore …
Especially the Healing of Liver  Cancer for Tom Melillo, through Christ our



Home » Personal pilgrimages with Tom & Sue » Tom & Sue 2016 personal pilgrimage

Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage 2016 June 15 (Day 20) Divine Mercy

We were blessed today to witness the most beautiful Divine Mercy devotion……..thanks to an invitation on behalf the Cardinal.

They sat us in the loft for this private veneration that they do daily in the early morning, with no tourists allowed, before they open the Chapel doors. Just Beautiful!

I’m sure.

Now I really have to back to confession!  LOL

We will be home soon!

Home » Personal pilgrimages with Tom & Sue » Tom & Sue 2016 personal pilgrimage

Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage 2016: June 14 (Day 19) with Cardinal Dzwisz

Jane  Dobric
Today, thanks to our dear friend, Father Tomasz, we had our Private Audience with Cardinal Dzwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow.  The Cardinal was the Episcopal and Personal Secretary and confidante to Saint John Paul II The Great for about 40 years!  We love being with him even if only for a short time.  He is very warm and kind and has the demeanor of the Saint.

We walked over from our apartment to The Archbishop’s Residence, also known locally as 3 Franceska Street, and had some time before our meeting, so we went into St. Francis Basilica and started our rosary in the second to the last pew on the left of the Franciscan Basilica … the very pew that Saint John Paul II sat in every day when he was here in Krakow and would pray his rosary.  You can’t get any closer than that, except in the  chapel where he was ordained in secret……and we will attend Mass on Saturday morning with the Cardinal, Father Tomasz and the nuns who take care of the Cardinal.

Since I was diagnosed with liver cancer last November, they have all been praying for me, so this is going to be very special.   We Prayed two Decades of  our Rosary and then had to depart for our visitwith the Cardinal across the  street.

The  guard welcomed us and allowed us access to the stairway leading to the  Cardinal’s Offices.  Father Tomasz came out to the foyer area to greet  us.  There was a Polish woman sitting at the table waiting  to see the Cardinal (without an appointment) … she told us that she was from  Alaska and when she saw Father Tomasz warmly greet us, she told us to tell him that she wanted to see the Cardinal (which we did).

As  Father led us to the Cardinal’s Chambers, the woman followed us and sat outside until we were finished with our visit. The Cardinal opened the door to his private office and Susan stood there with a big smile and began waving at him before approaching the doorway.  We went in and His Eminence invited us to sit with him and Father Tomasz (after Susan greeted him  with the Three Polish Kisses).

We had a gift that we had purchased at Prado Nuevo in El Escorial … a photo of our Blessed Mother as she appeared to the visionary during Pope John Paul II’s visit to Madrid in 1982.  We also  had a small cross made by the Sisters at Prado:  the wood had been carved  from the Ash Tree where Our Lady appeared to Luz Amparo … thanks to our friend,  Consuelo, we had this gift to present to the Cardinal.  Susan and I felt strongly that the Cardinal recognized the photo immediately and that he was touched by our gift.
He looked at me with big questioning  eyes and said … “Is this for me?”.  I said, “Of Course … we brought this  especially for you.” He immediately took the small Cross and placed it directly on the framed photo of Our Lady … it was a touching moment.

Father Tomasz then explained things to the Cardinal in Polish which saved a lot of time in translations.We also extended greetings, love & prayers from many who care very much for the Cardinal.  We  had written down the names so that His Eminence would know of your greetings.  He said and read the names of each and every one of you (you know who you are) and smiled and shook his head yes as he acknowledged each name.   

The Cardinal then looked  at us and softly asked how long we had been married.  I told him 27 years, but then explained that because Susan and I work 24/7 together all of these years, I calculate our marriage at 45 years.

Father  Tomasz explained in Polish and the Cardinal laughed. Then he  asked … “Do you fight?” and I expressed the sign “A Little Bit”!  Then he  looked at Susan and said “Do you get silent with him?” and Susan quickly  responded … “Oh yes, Cardinal … I am very good at that!”.  Tom  quickly gesturedagain with “A Little Bit” and we all shared a  laugh.

We were very touched when His Eminence, two different times, looked at us and said “You are a very special  couple … we will Pray for you both and we ask that you Pray for me and for Father Tomasz.”.  We assured him of our continued prayers for both of them.

Father  Tomasz then explained my health condition (cancer) to the Cardinal, who has been praying for me.  His Eminence told us to beseech the intercession of Saint John Paul II, and that numerous miracles are constantly being reported to his office and to the Vatican of cures through the intercession of the Saint. Susan told the Cardinal that she has been keeping  Saint John Paul II very, very busy for my healing. He  smiled!

He then got up and so did we, but he went to get us 3 Rosaries that bear his crest and the crest of Saint John Paul II.  It was  time for a photo op, so we did and it was time to leave……so the 3 Polish kisses and hand shakes and each of us after blessing the other we departed.

Out in the anteroom the Polish lady was still there, and he graciously saw her, as Fr. Tomasz stayed with  us.  She didn’t  last long, but we thought that it was nice he took the time, as other people  waited for him, to accommodate her.

We made plans with Little Tom to have dinner on Friday at 8:00 p.m. We always let him pick the place because he knows the best restaurants.

Having no major plans, we decided to see some of the churches and Basilicas that we missed last year and to finish our Rosary and divine in a different one as we went.

We prayed for all of  you and lit candles along the way.  We saw some very beautiful places and  some very old ones.

We were hungry, so along the way we stopped to eat at a restaurant off the beaten path and had a delightful meal, half of which went home in a doggie bag, because there was so much  food.  Only $25 poorer, we continued our trek.  Did I tell you I love  Krakow?

After we had seen enough and finished our Prayers we went back to the apartment and settled in for the night, with plenty to eat if we got hungry.

Trip reports to write and e-mails to  answer we never got to turn on the TV until late.  We got ten new intentions that we added to the list for tomorrows prayers.

Just as we turned on the  TV there was a knock at the door and I asked who it was and got no response.  Peeking through the peep hole I saw two policemen, so I cautiously opened  the door and checked them out.  You know the shoes, badges and guns and  other things a real cop would carry.  They had some documents and showed me they were looking for a man who lived here.  I tried to communicate to them that we were just tourist renting so I motioned to wait and went to get our booking document to bring to them when Susan, my trusting  wife invited them in.

Now I’m thinking,  I have these 2 big men in the  apartment and what if they are not cops?  I eye  balled a few defensive weapons in case, like the iron, a wine bottle and the  knife on the sink.  I think I watch too many cop  shows!

They were satisfied when I gave them the owners number and left thanking us for the information.  Whew!!!  I later  tried to explain to Susan what occurred and she flipped out at how trusting and stupid it was to invite them in.  I was hoping she would not have nightmares and I was glad that she did not ask if she could take a picture.

Dobre nov,  (I take a shot at  this one)

“Dear Lord,  I do not know what will happen to me today.  I only know that nothing will  happen that was not foreseen by You, and directed to my greater good from all  eternity.  I adore Your holy and unfathomable plans, and submit to them  with all my heart for love of You, the Pope, and theImmaculate Heart of Mary.  Amen.”

May the  Lord hear all your prayers.
Susan &  Tom

Act of  Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O  Most Holy Virgin Mother, we listen with grief to the complaints of your
Immaculate Heart surrounded with the thorns placed therein at every moment
by  the blasphemies and ingratitude of ungrateful humanity. We are moved by
the  ardent desire of loving you as Our Mother and of promoting a true
devotion to  your Immaculate Heart.

We therefore  kneel before you to manifest the sorrow we feel for the
grievances that people  cause you, and to atone by our prayers and sacrifices for
the offenses with  which they return return your love. Obtain for them and
for us the pardon of so  many sins. Hasten the conversion of sinners that
they may love Jesus and cease  to offend the Lord, already so much offended.
Turn your eyes of mercy toward us,  that we may love God with all our heart
on earth and enjoy Him forever in  heaven.


Home » Personal pilgrimages with Tom & Sue » Tom & Sue 2016 personal pilgrimage

Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage 2016: June 12 (Day 17) Krakow John Paul II Center & Shrine of Divine Mercy

In the morning we ate a leisurely breakfast and at 9:30 the apartment owner came to get our passport info and see if we needed anything.  I TOLD HIM A BIGGER BED; THE BED WAS QUEEN AND NOT KING LIKE HE ADVERTISED.  He said it was a European king; I  smiled and said no more.

Editors note:  Most European King size beds are about 4″ shorter than the U.S. King size that Tom was expecting; however, they are also about 4″ wider than the U.S. versions.

We left and drove to the St. John Paul II Shrine for the noon mass and arrived in plenty of time to re-explore the center and its chapels.  Most everything  inside was complete.  This amazed us since a year ago they had so much to  do.  The place is amazing; as you will see in the 100 +  photos wetook…….not kidding this time.

Mass at noon included First Holy Communion children and was in the lower Church of the Shrine.  Even though the Saint had never been there, his presence was evident.  The children received communion just like every other one we have seen, all crowding up at once in total disorder, just as the adults do it in every church.  The need ushers bad, and although at times we think we do a bad  job at it……..never again!

At the end of mass they say a litany of prayers to St. John Paul II and read the intentions that were put into the box that day.  My wife is smart, because she did this and I didn’t even know about it and she condensed 300 + intentions on 5 sheets of paper.  We laughed afterwards that we should  have put a copy of the written sheets with all your individual intentions in the box; we would have been there for an hour.

After mass we had a cappuccino and went to the upper church and the international chapels.  The American chapel has the clothes Saint John Paul II wore when he was shot………and it still gives us shivers each time we see it.  Our  Lady of Guadeloupe hangs on the wall right above it.  We wiped many tears from our eyes, mostly happy ones, as we were back to a city we loved and he loved.

We finished by exploring the rest of the areas that were almost complete, since our last visit, including a massive statue to the Saint in the upper courtyard, and left for the Divine Mercy Shrine to Saint Faustina.

Our first stop was at the convent where Saint Faustina lived and died. There is a replica of her room and audio head phones that you can listen to about her life with Christ and how it began and Divine Mercy came to be.  Susan  had tears in her eyes and later told me I had to listen the next time we  come.  In the meantime I shopped, not like me, and purchase some rosaries and other memento’s to bring home.  If anyone wants a divine mercy rosary, let us know before it’s too late.

Off to the Chapel of Divine Mercy where there were several tour groups coming and going but all were reverent and only stayed for a few minutes.  We sat in the back and prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet before the hoards of people would arrive for  the 3:00 PM hour of prayer.  We did that on a Friday lastyear and it was very difficult to concentrate, especially since everything was in Polish.

We finished our prayer and went up to venerate the relic of Saint Faustina and asked her to bless and intercede for all of you and left.

We stopped for some water and a few things at the big supermarket and hardly needed princess to get back and we spent the next 2 hours in the apartment organizing and answering as many e-mails as we could that you have sent especially for prayer intentions.

At 6:30 we were out the door to meet Father Tomasz, the Episcopal and personal secretary to Cardinal  Dziwisz, for dinner. We made a wrong turn, walking, and ended up being 2 minutes  late, not tooworried, because Little Tom, Fr Tomasz, was always late.  Wrong! He was waiting patiently for his, as he puts  it, crazy American friends.

We hugged and did the 3 polish kisses…..well Susan did, I hugged him and we gave each other the manly single kiss and hand shake.  It has been a year since we have seen him but it  seemed like yesterday.

Little Tom was still a little tense from work but  after a nice glass of wine or two and some laughs he relaxed and we spent a  great evening together.  They are all so busy here, with World Youth Day being just a month away.

With dinner over and him having to work early in the AM we left and  walked a little way together and departed, until we would see him Wednesday with the Cardinal.  When we got back to the apartment, we didn’t take long to get ready for bed and get in it.

Night, Night See you tomorrow.
Dobranoc:  (how’s that?)

Tom &  Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)


_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)



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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Saturday June 11 (Day 16) Rome to Krakow

Good morning: (can’t even think in Polish yet)

Well, Susan and I are empty nesters.  We woke up the kids to say goodbye and left for the  airport at 6:00 AM.  We returned the car, and before we knew it, we were in Krakow at 10:30 AM.

The only glitch so far was renting the car we reserved for the week in Krakow.  They wouldn’t take my AMEX, but after a call to the US……and Warsaw, we were on the road.

Before princess woke up (ed note: princess is Tom’s GPS device), LOL, we were half way to Krakow.  Lots of good signs we could read. Princess did take us right to the deluxe Apartment I rented. I had shown Susan different photos of another so-so apartment, I wanted to surprise her the one I chose.  So we  now have 200 pictures (only kidding) to send you.

Ola met us, showed us where to park, and took us up and explained everything we needed to know, well almost.  Susan unpacked and organized; I went for supplies and at 5:00 PM mass was available at the Church of the Holy Trinity, a 7 minute walk  away.   The church was over-filled with youth, teens, young adults and lot of white-haired folks like us.  After mass we had a light meal at the apartment and retired for the night.

We pray that God will bless you and grant you all your  intentions
Love Susan & Tom

Totus Tuus
This  prayer was written by the Holy Father Saint John Paul II to
Mary  Immaculate:
Totally  yours,
Immaculate  Conception, Mary my Mother,
Live in me, Act in me,
Speak in me  and through me,
Think your thoughts in my mind,
Love through  my heart,
Give me your dispositions and feelings,
Teach, lead  me and guide me to Jesus,
Correct, enlighten and expand my thoughts and  behavior,
Possess my soul,
Take over my entire personality and life,  replace it with Yourself,
Incline me to constant adoration,
Pray in  me and through me,
Let me live in you and keep me in this union  always.
In  Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph and St. John Paul II

May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

Tom &  Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)


_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)



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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Friday June June 10 (Day 15) Rome

Bonjurno for the last time:

Today, Friday, is our last day in Rome and tomorrow morning, Susan and I leave for Krakow, Poland at 6:00 AM, and Johna and Sam leave at noon to fly to Madrid, where they spend the night and then return home on Monday.

Today we had mass with Fr. Gabriel, and mama, and 3 friends from Argentina, one of whom was a priest and con-celebrated the mass.  We met them at 7:30 AM in St. Peter’s square at the entrance and Father was already in the Basilica preparing for mass.  Lots of hugs and kisses we walked into the square and over to get mama in by two guards close to the  security.   Now, mama has a cane and is elderly and definitely qualifies as handicapped. You would think that the guards would have cared,….not a  chance; they made us walk all the way around the Square like everyone  else. So we all went the long way…..Susan and mama arm in arm and made the trek in 15 minutes, only to pass by the gate we tried to get through earlier, 20 ft. away and right at security……… “Italians”……..and I’m one of them.

We went thru security and as we approached the Basilica, they had the ramp closed, so it was either the steps or the  elevator.  I went ahead and Susan and mama followed and I asked for the elevator rather sternly and the man behind the desk jumped up and with his key took us  up.   We just made itbefore mass was about to  begin.

Fr. Gabriel and his friend were on the altar  preparing the host and altar and just before he started, he came down and handed me his camera and asked if I would take some photos.  No Problem….. I felt  like Marilyn Olsen at an ordination.

There was a guard there the whole time and didn’t say a word until mass was over and Father had left…….I took one more photo of the altar stone and he yelled at me, “no  photo’s”  Hello! Are you Italian?

Father was as excited to do mass at the altar of St  John Paul II as were to be there for mass and it was beautiful.  After mass had ended we waited for Father and he and Susan walked with mama down the stairs because you couldn’t get thru to the elevator. Lots  of hugs and kisses later we departed allpromising to keep in touch, especially  Susan and mama, since she does e-mail and facebook!

We had a car rented today for the day and we took  the subway to Termini train station, and after a little struggle found the rental offices, we picked a number and were 10th in the wait line, but divine intervention again came thru and in less than 5 minutes some man came up to me and asked what Ineeded and I said my car, which I had pre-paid.   So he took my license and credit cards and asked  for my passport which I forgot so he said no problem and sent us to the pickup  garage down the street. This guy must have been from another country after the  people we ran into today.

Twenty minutes later we were in our brand new  MERCEDES, did I tell you yet “I love this car”.  We were going to Mentorella, the Sanctuary of Mentorella of in the mountains and then our plan was to go to Genazzano to Our Lady of Good Counsel Shrine, to Our Lady of Divine Love and then to the Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls back in Rome.

Pretty impressive right?  Well, we made 2 of 4, after we got lost going to Mentorella and wasted a half hour backing out of dead ends and doing u-turns.  Princess (my GPS) is now 10 years old and I think needs an update or  retirement.

About 5 miles before the shrine there is a village,  where we made a pit stop and had a cappuccino…..we hadn’t even had breakfast, but we were afraid to take too much time, because the church closed at 1:00 PM for 2  hours, so we headed up the final leg.

There was dead silence in the car as we made s-turn after s-turn on the narrow road, some of which had no guard rails.  I was in heaven driving, the others were in Purgatory waiting for it to be  over.

At the parking lot for the shrine there was a bus and some cars but we didn’t park there.  We drove straight to the Shrine, saving a ¼ mile walk, a trick we remembered from  our last visit here.   We didn’t have to worry about the church closing……..there was a group getting ready to have mass so we spentwhat time we could saying a few prayers before the Statue of Our Lady and at the altar of Saint John Paul II.

As mass was to begin, we left the church and went to the cave of St. Benedict where he lived for many years before starting the Benedictine order. The lights kept going out and we had to keep going  up the rock steps to turn it back on.   I think the kids were mesmerized being there at this holy place. Johna and Sam both left a copy of their intentions there and on the statue of Saint Benedict there was a Brown Scapular with on side missing, so he took his off and tried to lasso it on the statue.  Too  funny!   On the 3rd try it caught on something so he was  happy.   (See Photo’s).

We next climbed the Scala Sancta.  Steps leading up to a bell for all Christians to ring acknowledging that they were there.   We all took a turn.  The views from here were incredible for all of us, since the last time Susan and I were here it was raining very hard and the clouds covered the mountain.   I still remember that day looking up the steps and  the brightness of the sky above.

Time to go, since we were on short time, so we headed down the mountain.  Susan hates this part the most……..and I wasn’t sure about the  others.   We stopped back in the village and had lunch. We  were all starving.   We had pasta, all homemade of course, and the ravioli’s were huge.   Everything was delicious and we shared a liter of house wine that everyone loved.

As we headed toward Genazzano the kids fell asleep  in the back of the car, it was a lovely sight! Running short on time and the  kids wanted to get a vigil, we turned around and went to St Paul’s Outside the Walls, hoping for a 5:00 PM vigil mass.

We got there in plenty of time and even found another mass in  progress.  It looked as if the priest was getting the altar ready. When we walked in we were scorned by some people with their looks.   Little did we know that it was time for Communion, and the priest was breaking actual bread to serve.  When he came around we all stood back as reverent as possible, deciding not to receive, and he passed by us anyway.

The mass at the Basilica was at 6:00 and at 5:00 vespers began in Latin, so we left, since tomorrow the kids had time to go to the Vatican in the morning and we could attend mass in Krakow, so we went home…..with only a few wrong turns. We all finished packing and Sam and I went for some  pizza.

After dinner Sam was very sad, he told us he would love to have been able to go to Krakow and maybe we would have another chance. We went to bed at 10 PM, Susan and I had to be up at  5 and out the door at 6.   We promised to wake them in the morning before we  left to say goodbye.   See you tomorrow.

Buona sera……

May the Blessed Mother wrap Her Mantle around all of  you.
Susan, Tom and the Kids

Pray to Our Lady of  Good Counsel

Most Glorious  Virgin, you were chosen by the eternal Counsel to be the
Mother of the Eternal  Word made flesh. You are the treasurer of divine graces
and the advocate of  sinners. I who am your most unworthy servant have
recourse to thee. Graciously  be my guide and counselor in this valley of tears.
Obtain for me, through  the Precious Blood of your Divine Son, the
forgiveness of my sins, the  salvation of my soul, and the means necessary to obtain
it. In like manner,  obtain for the Holy Church victory over Her enemies
and the spread of Jesus’  kingdom over the whole earth.

May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

Tom &  Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)

_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (mailto:TSMelillo13@aol.com)



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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Thursday June 9 (Day 14) Rome

Yesterday I forgot to mention the Mass we attended at Saint John Lantern, which was a surprise for us………when we walked by a side chapel and the Gospel was being read, and it was in English!  We  went in and everyone smiled at us, making us feel like part of their  group.  After mass, the two priests came over to talk to us and find out where we were from.  They were English, from Sussex, and everyone in their group shook our hands or gave a gentle hug.  It was great because many groups don’t like strangers.

Anyway!!!  Another early day to get to the Vatican and get thru the Holy Doors as pilgrims, since we had registered.  We  didn’t realize that we had to walk almost one mile away from the Vatican and then  walk back.  We found that out yesterday, so when we got to Saint  Peters, I showed our pass and we got in the Pilgrims line.  Security was quicker and everyone got to go thru the doors regardless.  The same procedure was at the other 3 major Basilicas  as well.  We did visit them all on different  days.

If you have never been to St. Peters, when you enter you immediately are in front of the Pieta created by Michangelo, it never gets old.  Sam and Johna were very overwhelmed as we toured the Basilica and when we finally found the tomb of St. John Paul II.  It was right past the Pieta, but blocked off for mass when we came in.  Another area we came to was blocked off for confessions, so Susan decided to go for all the indulgences we had gotten. We waited for her…..and waited…..and…..waited. Only kidding, but the only the last confessional was for English.

We spent almost 2 hours here until the crowds became impossible to move or even enjoy the moment.  The lines for the  tombs of the Popes was very long and we were contemplating going when we ran into Mama, or Rachel, the mother of the Priest, Father Gabriel, who allowed us  to celebrate with him at Bethlehem in the Manger alcove.  Divine  intervention, we thought……how unlikely was this?

By the way we were at the  toilet doors, waiting for Sam, where we have met other great people at different toilets around the world, who became good friends, Like Fr. Tomasz, Cardinal Dziwisz’ Personal secretary, whom we plan to see next week. Fr. Gabriel came to meet his mother and was also shocked that we had run into each other.

We went for a  grandee cappuccino so we could talk and get to know each other better.  Mama was so happy to see us again and she and Susan bonded in a special way.  We talked to them about their lives and ours and they invited us to Argentina, as we also invited them to Florida, where they will be traveling next year.

Father invited us to mass  on Sat. at 8 AM at the shrine Of Saint John Paul II in St. Peters…..of course, we said yes, feeling blessed for the opportunity to receive communion in another very special place for us.


Father was next taking his mom to the Sistine Chapel, where Johna and Sam were going to go; Susan and I were taking the rest of the day off, so we hailed a cab for them and off the 4 of them  went.

Susan and I walked back to the apartment, which took about 25 minutes.  Along the way, we decided to spend the night in, so we went to the supermarket for food and supplies.  Our choice was for  Salad,  fresh Pasta, Fresh sausage and some cheese and proscuitto and a good Chianti of course.

We  figured they could make that, as it was Johna was great in the kitchen and Sam made a wonderful Sauce or gravy as he calls it.

The kids got home around  4:30.  Sam was  disappointed with the Sistine Chapel, because he couldn’t take photos, but he said it was magnificent.  Susan and I had done that before and the crowds were overwhelming, that’s why we opted out.  They  said the crowds were the same.

The kids dinner was great, and we caught up on a few things especially a trip report since I am 4 days  behind.  We  enjoyed the evening and went to bed all pretty exhausted from the non-stop  pace.

Tomorrow we are up early  again.
Bueno  Serra
May the Grace and peace  of Christ be with you always,
Susan, Tom and the  Kids

Prayer to the  Immaculate Conception

O God, who by  the Immaculate Conception
of  the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your
we beseech You that, as by the  foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did
preserve her from all stain, so too  You would permit us, purified through
her intercession, to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ,  Your Son, who lives and reigns with
You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God,  world without end.