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 we took…….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 last year 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 too worried, 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)