Tom & Sue personal pilgrimage: Monday May 30 Day 4

Buenos Dias, Bonjourno and Boker Tov,
Today is travel day to the Holy Land. Confusing greeting, now you can get an idea of the day we had:  Madrid to Rome to Tel Aviv. 
We got wake up calls at 3:00 AM plus I had the alarm set for 3:15, just in  case I fell back to sleep.  Sue and I laid in bed and we could tell by each others’ breathing we were not sleeping, both our minds racing.   Finally, we got up around 11:00 talked for awhile and Susan took half a xanax, but I didn’t want to…..afraid I would sleep thru.  Johna and Sam were having the same problem in their rooms, unknown to us as they watched  TV.
Susan’s breathing confirmed sleep and I laid there with one eye open as the clock struck 1.  Two hours later the phone rang, I answered and 15 minutes later I got up after the alarm went off.

The kids were up and ready to go just as I finished my shower. Our flight was at 6 Am and we were close to the airport but I had to get the kids and the  luggage to terminal 2 and then Susan and I had to return the beast to terminal 1 and walk to terminal 2, So we needed extra time.
Mission accomplished: we checked in and had one hour until the flight  boarded. As we approached the gate we still had time for a quick coffee and toast in the lounge.
The flight took off on time and we arrived in Rome ready to change planes in the same terminal.  The plane unloaded us on the parking  tarmac and we were bussed in. We thought we could go to the lounge and relax for the next flight, but we had to walk from one end of the terminal to the other, only to get on a bus to take us back to where we first landed.  

Who runs these companies???

We just made it, but people were late and we sat in  the plane for an hour +, also having lost our place in line.  We all  slept until they shoved something that looked like food in front of us and a  baby two rows up started to CRYYYYY.  Three hours later we arrived in Tel  Aviv, one hour late and exhausted.
Customs wasn’t to bad and we got our luggage and I went for the car rental.  An hour later we were in the lot searching the for the car.   Twenty minutes later we were loaded and ready to go, but no one was around and 20 minutes later we took off after I figured out how to drive it and use the  controls and the I-pad they gave us for a GPS system.
4:00 pm and we were off for Haifa.  Traffic was a bear and we had to  take a pit stop and get water.  By 6:00 pm we were in Haifa at our condo, luggage ready to go down these long stairs, but nobody was home to let us  in.  Twenty minutes later, as we stood there, the owner came back and let us  in.  Amos was very nice and invited us up to his home for some wine and  cheese, which we did until we knew we had to get some food and get organized for  tomorrow.  The kids and I went to the Supermarket and Susan stayed at the  apartment to get our travel plans in order.
We finally made some sandwiches and ate, all of us exhausted and running short of patience ( I think it was me), so we went to bed, all of us praying that tomorrow would be a better day.  You will have to wait to find out.  We were so hassled, we only too 7 pictures all day. See below
Layla Tov,
God Bless you all
Love Tom, Susan and the kids

It’s not too late to send us your prayer intentions, we will present them at all the stops we make along the way:   

   Prayer to Our Lady in Time of  Trouble

Holy Virgin Mary, you are reigning in  glory, with Jesus, your Son. Remember us  in our sadness. Look kindly on all who are  suffering or fighting  against any difficulty. Have pity on  those who are separated from someone they love. Have pity on the loneliness of our hearts. Have pity on the weakness of our faith and  love. Have pity on  those who are weeping, on those who are praying, on those who are  fearful. Holy Mother,  please obtain for all of us hope and peace with  justice.
May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

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


Tom & Sue personal pilgrimage Sunday May 29, Day 3: Feast of Corpus Christi in Spain

Buenos Dias

6 AM  came early, but I was up and refreshed.  I let Susan and the kids sleep while I finished the first trip report.  I snuck down for a couple cups of coffee and started to get hungry when I saw the breakfast buffet.

I didn’t want to eat alone so it was up and at’ em.  We still had a full day ahead and needed to leave by 9:30 at the very latest.  Susan and I went down and got a table and by time the kids got there we had eaten. They had showered so we went up and did the same.  After a good full breakfast (our next meal would be around 5)  we headed out slightly behind schedule. We didn’t care we just re-arranged the day. 

First stop was mass in Colomajaro, close to Prado, where our dear friend Father Guillermo was stationed after his ordination last year. (Parking “the beast” was another problem, until I finally saw a handicap spot.  I limped getting out of the truck till we got around the corner.) We had been with his dad, Tony as we call him, yesterday and met him and Carmen, his wife, for Mass.  Lots of hugs and kisses again and we settled in for mass in a very full church. 

(editor’s note:  Tom likes to name his rental car for each pilgrimage, so in this case it is “The Beast”)

It was Corpus Christi Sunday and all the churches in Spain have processions before or after mass.  With rain threatening they had the procession first, so we left our hard-to-find seats and processed out behind the first Holy Communion children and Fr. Guillermo and Jesus. I stayed back after a short walk, this time really limping, and took photo’s. 

After the procession we stood in the back of the church, for our seats were gone.  Mass was beautiful and the children receiving Jesus for the first time is always special to see. Another priest said mass and Fr. G sat in the confessional for those who needed it. Sam and I both went to confession after the service was over.  They wanted us to have lunch with them but we had a tight schedule and promised we would on June 19, when Susan and I came back to Madrid. 

We came here also for a special reason.  Last year the sisters gave us the rosary that Amparo the visionary prayed with until she died..  When she died she gave it to Florita, our adopted mother who died before we got to see her last year. They all decided that we should have this precious relic, including Fr. G. so they gave it to us. We spent a year with this delicate and special rosary using it with great joy, but we felt it should be home in Spain with Fr. G, who new Amparo so well and was very close to her. So  with great love and bitter sweet joy we gave it to him before we left.  He was shocked and excited and argued with us only a little. Again more tears, hugs and kisses and we finally departed our loving friends. 

The kids wanted to go back to Prado to say prayers for intentions and get some pictures and holy water so we did before it started to rain again.  When we were there the caretaker we had come to know over the years came out and gave us some new brochures they had done finally in English. Susan asked him if we could venerate the tree under which Our Lady stood and he went for the key. The kids got to go first and were overwhelmed and they will have to tell you their own feelings. As for us it never changes, we get light headed and the emotions flow freely  ( I need some visine)  to be able to touch that sacred place.

We all stood around and split up the 10 pages of intentions we carry and prayed for each one before the place of the Apparition of the Virgin and each of us left those sheets and put them in Her intention box.  Pictures were done and we collected some miraculous water from the spring and left just as the rain came. 

Off to the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caídos, only 15 minutes away, and we arrived as the rain stopped.  This place is incredible  as many of you know that have been here. The kids were pretty speechless as we explored this giant underground basilica.  It still takes your breath away each time you come. (see Photos below)  I almost got thrown out again, as I got caught 3 times sneaking pictures, but I managed a few.

Time to eat!! So we headed to Madrid and to Consuela and Umberto’s home for dinner.  Never got lost and parked “the beast” 100 ft from her home. They gave us each a cross of Christ made from wood from the tree of the apparition at Prado, so we got something special for giving away something special.  Our Blessed Mother is so good.  It was a great afternoon of good friends, good food and a lots of laughs. (also more hugs, tears and kisses. But, we had to leave rather early since we had to get up at 3 AM to catch our flight the next day for the Holy Land.  We bid farewell, Susan and I will see them again before we leave to come home, and headed for the hotel to pack, load the beast and hopefully sleep.  

See you tomorrow.

God bless all of you, 


Susan Tom and the Kids

Mary, Help of Those in Need

Holy Mary,
help those in need,
give strength to the weak,
comfort the sorrowful,
pray for God’s people,
assist the clergy,
intercede for religious.
Mary all who seek your help
experience your unfailing protection.



May 28, Day 2: Tom & Sue Arrive in Spain, off to Prado Nuevo

Buenos Dias,

Well we arrived safely from our overnight flight, well-fed and a little rested.  Sleep is never easy on a plane.  We got to the car rental and Susan went to take our picture but the camera was missing.  I am not going to say who left it on the plane, so I won’t embarrass her, of course she blames me, so we decided to let it go.  I continued to rent the car and Susan and Sam went to lost and  found, 4 times sneaking thru security.  Two hours later, we had retrieved the camera and my cell phone that I left in the camera bag.  (editors note:  this may have been the first miracle of their  pilgrimage)

Our van for the pilgrimage
Not quite what we ordered, but we will take it

At the car rental I waited 1/2 hour to get the first car, that was a stick shift, and I rented an automatic.  I told them and they said they would get me the right car.  A half-hour later, a 9-passenger van pulls up, but I wasn’t going to argue so I switched the luggage over and went back to the terminal rental counter where Johna waited as the go between. 

Finally after 3hrs in the airport, we were off undaunted by our hold up, anxious to get on our way.  We had to modify our plans and after dropping off our luggage at our hotel we went to Our Lady of Prado Nuevo to meet our friend Consuela.  We were one and one half hours late, but she was there in the chapel with Eucharistic Adoration.

We hugged, we kissed and we cried and then we went to eat.  Hungry, since the bread and croissant at breakfast was harder than the coffee cup!  We drove into town where there have to be 100 tapas bars and restaurants, but we only found a few parking places that would fit 1/2 of the van….and forget the parking garage. 

Dinner was at a place similar to Chuck E Cheese
Dinner was at a place similar to Chuck E Cheese

We ended outside of town at the Spanish version of Chucky Cheese with 30 kids screaming and partying.  They had parking and we enjoyed the pizza anyway.

The sisters at "The Ship"
The sisters at “The Ship”

It was raining hard so we went from there to the Ship……the home for the elderly without families and destitute.  We go every year we are here and the Sisters have an open door policy for us. Again there were lots of tears and hug and kisses and Sam and Johna got right into it, especially with the elderly women.  They all love to hug and kiss, pretty  much anyone.  Most are in their 80-90’s and suffer from some dementia but they are warm and loving.

The statue that wept for 8 days
The statue that wept for 8 days

The sisters took the kids on a tour of the facility and to the chapel where the statue of Our Lady of sorrows is protected and kept.  The statue was attacked one evening and hacked in the face with a hatchet.  During the following 8 days after the attack 6 of the sisters witnessed the statue weeping real tears.  These sisters are so holy….this makes you understand why.

We bid farewell, Susan and I will return on the day before we come home, more hugs and kisses.  Our plan was to stay for the Rosary at the ash tree where the Blessed Mother appeared and then go to Mass, but the rain changed that as well as jet lag, which was setting in hard.  We needed sleep. We bid Consuela good bye. We would have dinner with her and Umberto, her husband, on Sunday.

We said our rosary on the way back, as well as Divine Mercy, and then got lost 3 times because I was not very attentive and missed several turns.  But we finally made it and Susan and the kids got the luggage out of storage and I parked the truck in the garage.

Still hyped somewhat, we opened a bottle of wine and had a glass for a toast.  We planned the next day, and after another glass of wine, it was lights out, 8:30 pm, 2:30 pm  EST in the U.S.

Buenos Tardes

God Bless all of you.

Love Susan, Tom and the kids.


May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

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


Prayer before a Crucifix

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel and, with burning soul, pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity; true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment.

While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Thy five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Thy prophet, said of Thee, my Jesus: They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones.”




May 27, Day 1: Departure from Miami

Friday, May 27
Hello from Miami:
Well we got this far and are finally relaxing in the Admirals lounge.  A drink took the edge off, and boy, did we all need one!  Now I know how it is to have kids!!!  This will be a great experience only because we love our two kids that are with us. 
Johna is okay…..actually, she is great. Sam…..I will get into that later. Both Johna and Sam have never been to Europe and their excitement keeps us calmmmmm.  I am just glad I brought the cane so I can pull him along by the neck as he stops to talks to everyone. 
Going thru security was the funniest since he took everything off he didn’t have to and putting it back together was more than comical. We were so hassled getting out of town and returning the rental car that the first picture I took was of the two girls just as Sam came out of the toilet. 
Johna, Sam and I went to 8:30 Mass today.  Susan had to stay home to finish the e-mail additions and all the prayer intentions.  Thank you for responding and be assured you will be in our prayers.  We have a few hundred and they are all written down and each of us has a copy to carry and reflect upon as we pray.
We are almost ready to board the flight for Madrid so I will finish this tomorrow.  We arrive 7 30 am Madrid time and rent a car. We will drop off our luggage at the hotel and head for the Valley of the Fallen and the to Our Lady Of Prado Nuevo and will meet many friends.  I’ll let you know how the kids do.
Photos attached. Have a great evening
May God bless all of you
Love and prayers
Tom, Susan, Johna and Sam

Sub Tuum Praesidum 

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.


Send your prayer requests & follow Tom & Sue on another personal pilgrimage

Editor’s note:

We have posted their journeys before and know you will enjoy this one as well.  In the last year Tom was diagnosed with cancer, and having had to go through treatments, and a great deal of suffering, is now well enough to travel.  And believe us, this is quite a bit of traveling!

We invite you to follow them, and even more importantly, send them your prayer requests that they will take with them.

From Tom:

Hi everyone:

The subject title for my e-mail that I sent out was “CYBERKNIFE & THE HOLY LAND PRE-PILGRIMAGE REPORT”, which was quite a title.  The reason for it is that because of the CyberKnife Treatments I recently underwent, we are still able to travel on our 8th “Personal Pilgrimage”

I can’t thank all of you enough for the love, support, Prayers and Masses that you have offered up for me.  Susan and I believe that the path we took treating the liver cancer was a guiding light from above because of you.  We won’t have the results of the treatments until the end of June, but everyone at my Oncologist’s Office feels very positive.   I recently had another blood test that was also very positive.  I feel great, other than old age pains, and I continue to put my life in God’s hands. 

The CyberKnife Robotic Radiation Treatments were two hours every other day for five treatments.  The machine would shoot laser-guided radiation directly into the tumor from every angle it possibly could.  Over 200 beams of radiation at each session.  It was amazing that during these sessions, the “robot” would change it own lens from a table with 12 lenses on it.  If all goes as it should, there should only be a small scar tissue left after a couple months.  We will keep you posted.

Now, as far as the Holy Land, we embark on our “8th Personal Pilgrimage” this Friday, May 27th.  This year, two very dear friends of ours are coming along with us.  Sam and Johna have never been to Europe (nor on a pilgrimage), so we all look forward to the adventure and spiritual experiences we will hopefully share together.  This year’s “personal pilgrimage” will include Spain, The Holy Land (our first trip there!!!!), Rome, Italy and a return to Poland.

Read more…