After another glorious 12 hours sleep we awoke still sick but feeling better.. The hacking and sneezing had subsided. I call the insurance carrier we have for the trip and told them to find us a doctor in San Giovanni Rotondo and e-mail it to us. They e-mailed a hospital and I said to Sue what the heck they are paying unless I didn’t read all the fine print. After breakfast alone in the massive dining room of the hotel we set out for Manoppello and the cloth of Veronica from the passion of Christ as He carried his Cross.( I have to explain some of these things for our non-catholic friends).
We made it good time and were rewarded with parking right in front of the church. This is a very quiet and low key town but has a great treasure with the confines of the church. Some disagree that this is the true veil that Veronica used to wipe Jesus’s face as He carried his cross and we are allowed to believe or not believe as we feel what ever may or may not inspire us.
Just stand there and relive the passion and that cloth becomes the face of Christ. Inverted over the Shroud of Turin, which was the burial cloth of Jesus, the face folds in perfectly and the fabric is of the early times before and around the time of Christ. It is always a solemn moment whenever you are so close to a miracle of Jesus whether approved or not your heart will tell you what to believe as did ours.
Having spent precious time at the veil and having prayed for the intentions we carry we stopped in the gift store and purchased some more mementos. I know we won’t have room in our curio cabinet for all the things we have bought and we still 2 weeks to go. We left for San Giovanni Rotondo and the home to St. Pio and traveled through light rain and sun and a beautiful sky full of heavy clouds that clung to the mountain tops.
We arrived at the hotel and put our stuff in the room and headed for the shrine to this modern day famous Saint, whose partial story is below. It was very cold and we had to park well below the shrine and after much thought we made our way up. This was the most unexplainable weather I have ever seen. The sun was out and yet the wind from the mountain showered us with a heavy mist as we tried to hold onto our umbrella’s and make our way. I took a photo of a rainbow that wasn’t in the sky but in front of us backing up to a hill and maybe only 100 yd’s. away. It was awesome as is the new Bacilica they have built.
In the basement of the Basilica is where the incorrupt body of St. Pio lies and the room is a very spiritual place until a bus load of people walk thru snapping photos and talking fortunately most were very reverent and visibly excited to get close to the Saint. We said our rosary here and it was beautiful as every once and a while we would peer at St.Pio. He had a definite affection for Our Lady and he was a full believer and supporter in Garabandal, Spain where our new lives began.
We walked out of the Basilica backwards, not literally, just that most all people were coming in that way and following a path. Who cares it was beautiful and we had to kind of hurry to make mass at the Chiara Santa Maria delle Grazie where St.Pio said most of his mass and heard confessions. The mass was in the church were he celebrated mass from 1959 to his last years and we didn’t make to the old section since our parking pass was about to expire and I know they lay in wait to give out tickets even if you were only 1 minutes late.
We wouldn’t have had to rush except for the sermon the priest gave which rivals any we have at the cathedral, and not to mention we were also having a wedding ceremony to boot. Mass ended and Susan and I bolted for the door laughing afterwards that we looked like the early birds from the 4:30 mass on Saturdays.
We plan to come back tomorrow after our visit to Grotto of St. Michael’s Cave. Back at the hotel with the heat on and sipping a glass of wine as we wait for room service to be delivered. A little fettuccini with seafood and veal medallions with fresh veggies. I let you know tomorrow how it was.
God Bless Susan and Tom