We slept in a little longer today, since our visit with Cardinal Dziwisz had changed from 9 AM to noon. If it were 9 AM, we would have missed it since we are finally relaxed after the past month’s journey.
I made the army coffee and it wasn’t as messy as I have gotten the procedure down and woke Susan and we checked our e-mails, showered and headed out for Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica. They had a Mass every 1/2 hour until noon, and the one before us was crowded, as well as ours it was nice to see.
Mass, as always, is the best way to start the day and after Mass we stopped at the flower mart in the square and bought some flowers for the Cardinal. We had brought T-shirts from the Diocese for world youth day, and trying to figure out what to buy a Cardinal was impossible, since we had tried to do this all along our journey.
We got to the residence with two minutes to spare and were ushered in to the 2nd floor and the offices. Father Tomasz, the Cardinal’s Episcopal Secretary, heard us and came out immediately to greet us with a big hug and buziaki’s.(kisses) We haven’t seen each other in over 3 years but it seemed like yesterday. The Cardinal was still in with some guest, so Fr. Tomasz took us on a special tour of the residence.
He first took us to the Private Chapel of St. John Paul II, where he was ordained and resided before being Pope as the Bishop of Crackow. He used this chapel for his office with a desk to one side as Bishop and when in Cracow as Pope. He spent many hours praying there, and just being there brought tears to our eyes.
Fr. Tomasz left us alone for a few private moments as we prayed to the beloved Saint and venerated the relic with his blood. The depiction behind the altar follows the life of the Saint and is beautiful. Fr. Tomasz explained it to us and said we could take pictures knowing we send them out to all of you at night as he has been following our journey as well.
We then went to the famous Pope’s window, where Saint John Paul II first welcomed the youth of Cracow, arriving to meet him. This continued each time he was in Cracow, as it became a tradition. We saw it from where he stood. How good is that?
The Cardinal was done so he came out to greet us, and again, it was just like yesterday from when we met him at a reception after his Mass on Palm Beach. I was not sure if he recognized us, but he smiled as if he remembered, slapping my hand when we first met him in Palm Beach, when I just wanted to kiss his ring. Today I finally got to and so did Susan. She was so nervous being so close again to St. John Paul’s best friend and confidante of over 40 years. Who would know him or love him better better?
We went into his private office and he went to a box on his desk to get something out and thought otherwise and went into the next room and came back and presented Susan with a Rosary from Pope Francis. He gave her one the last time we met from Saint John Paul II,, I think he remembered.
He gave a Pontificate Medal of Saint John Paul II to me. We were both speechless. We gave him his flowers and the world youth day T-shirts which he looked over and threw the smaller of the two at Fr. Tomasz.
The Cardinal has a great sense of humor and I told him he had the devil in him. Fr. Tomasz reminded him how we met while waiting in line at the reception in Palm Beach waiting for the toilette. Now you know why I always check out the toilettes wherever we go, because you just know who you are going to meet and where it will take you.
The Cardinal nicknamed me “BIG TOM” and Fr. Tomasz was “LITTLE TOM”. We spent a couple more minutes and took a photo op and the traditional 3 kiss good bye since the Cardinal had a new Pastor waiting for him. He promised a much longer visit next time and we went back to Fr. Tomasz’s office to solidify our dinner plans for tonight. More hugs and busiakis and we left much elated for the opportunity given us and to have been so close to the life of Saint John Paul II.
When we got to the ground floor and the Guard gave us some literature from the Cardinal and asked us if we wanted to see the exhibition of St. John Paul II. We thanked him and told him we where here yesterday and saw the whole exhibit and left.
Susan had to sit down, I think she was emotionally spent and needed to regroup. We rested and talked for while and then headed for Wawel Castle and the Cathedral where St. JP II said his first Mass. Talk about tight security and no photos allowed it was even hard for me to sneak one. We spent over an hour there and could have spent the day, there is so much to see, but we had not eaten and it was almost 2:30.
We stopped at food stand in the farmers market and had a sausage to hold us over for our 7 PM diner with Fr. Tomasz. We went back to the apartment and rested before leaving for dinner. (I’m getting used to this resting)
We arrived at the restaurant at 7:00 and Fr. Tomasz shortly after casually dressed in jeans and a shirt. We discussed dinner and wine for the evening and then proceeded to have a great time, with a lot of laughs and a couple minutes of serious conversation.
Georgio (from Italy) who knew Father, came over to the table to greet him and introduce himself. He sent us a Sambuca and I sent him our bill. LOL He laughed, but he didn’t pick it up. Hugs and kisses with Georgio and we departed the restaurant and walked with Fr. Tomasz for awhile.
He told us we had to go back to Divine Mercy to see the John Paul Center being built and that it was on our way to Wadowice and Kalwaria, where we were going tomorrow. He called a priest friend of his and told him we would be there around 8:30 and asked him to meet us and show us around.
It was time to say good bye and we all hugged and buziaki’d, promised to keep in touch and God willing meet again soon. It was a great night with a great friend.
Couldn’t get back to the Apartment fast enough and before I could lock the door Susan was sleeping clothes and all, she did manage to get her shoes off. That’s my baby, when she’s tired she’s fast.
The Three O’clock Hour of Mercy
Immerse Yourself in My Passion
At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only
for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My
abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the
whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I
will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My
Passion … (Diary, 1320).
Love, Hugs and Buziakis,
Susan & Tom
John Paul II
This is a switch, since The Catholic Travel Guide has posted our whole trip for the 3rd year, I am using one their reports which is below. Thanks guys.
May God bless all of you … Always!
Thank you for sharing our 2015 “Personal Pilgrimage” with us!
Tom & Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)