Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tom & Susan's Pilgrimage Report:

Susan &  Tom Melillo on are a Pilgrimage visiting different Shrines throughout Europe. Today they arrived in Garabandal. Here is their report. I hope to post some pictures soon.
Deacon John

Buenos Noches;
Sorry the internet was down at the hotel so this is late.
Well we left Limpias a little disappointed with our visit but they we planning a large celebration of the Mass for Corpus Christi and we understood.  On our way to Garabandal it started to rain and rained all the way.  I think some of it was that we were driving in the low lying clouds and that it was just the moisture they hold.  Now I'm a weatherman!!!
Most of you know of the experience we have had here and our love and devotion to Our Lady  Mt. Carmel and this place.  Nothing has changed.
We stopped in the town below for a few supplies and headed up the mountain. As we enter this tiny little hamlet in the Cantabrian Mountains, for the third time in the last 2 years, our excitement grew,  it's like coming home. We knew what we had to do first so we drove directly to the little church in the town.  This church may be small on stature but it is enormously filled with love and grace. Inside this church is a statue of Our Blessed Mother that has changed my life.  Each time I enter this place I grow weak at the knees and my emotions go rampant.  I am so happy to be here I weep with joy.  It is unexplainable.
Many people were in the church today and that is unusual unless a Mass is being said.  Much to our surprise the altar was set for Mass and  they were just waiting for Father Yolando to arrive.  How good is that!  We felt guilty leaving Limpias for not waiting for Mass, but something made us leave and to have it waiting for us here at Garabandal  I'm sure this is where Our Lady wanted us.  We dropped the car back at the hotel and walked to back to church.
Mass was beautiful with music and incense and a packed church. We sat right in the front in front of the Blessed Mother thanking Her the whole time for this wonderful journey we had had and for this celebration today. We also sat there to pray for some very special intentions that had been asked for, especially for Deacon John's Giglio's (Friend's of Garabandal) wife, Marianne, and we added the Deacon and his Family. Deacon John has never been to Garabandal but has dedicated himself to Our Lady Of Mount Carmel and the Garabandal message for years. Well, today, Deacon John ... we will be your eyes, your love and carry your spirit with us in this holy place and our prayers are with you all.
After mass Father filled the Monstrance with the Holy Eucharist and with a cupola covering him, carried by 4 men from the town we all set out, a sea of umbrellas, in the rain and marched thru the streets stopping at four homes of many, all with a beautiful statue's of Jesus set out front on their finest linen and adorned with roses. We prayed and sang and did  Benediction, I think, and finished at the church with the final prayers and songs. It was great to be a part of this humble celebration.. 
We stopped in the sacristy after a to say hello to Father Yolando.  He had looked at us a couple of times during Mass, I think trying to place us and remembered as soon as Susan said Father Yves Francois who celebrated the Mass with him last year on the anniversary day of the first apparition by St. Michael. We had a nice chat and departed for our hotel and the lunch I had hoped we hadn't missed. It was now almost 4 PM.
There is another secret in Garabandal that not many know about and that is Sari's cooking. Her and her husband, we call Papa, own a hotel and restaurant in the village and she is the greatest cook.  Sari is the sister to Mari Loli, one of the  four seers who passed away last year.( Sari was the young child that the people had chosen to go with the seers to confirm the apparitions years ago and she still has a glow about her).  She was distraught the last time we were here (at the loss of her sister) but her spirits were much better now.  We all hugged and kissed, they are all so warm and loving and she waited for us to arrive even though all the other guests were finished.  Our place was set at one of the tables and I prepared my palate for a wonderful treat.  We were not disappointed.  After lunch she asked about dinner and after such a huge meal and that wonderful breakfast we had had who would want dinner.  She talked us into coming back if just for soup so we agreed and headed out in the rain for "Los Pinos" the pines and the first apparition sites on the way.
We had to go, even in the rain  just like the first visit we had made here.  We had borrowed 2 walking sticks from papa and the climb up this steep rocky gorge was actually the easiest it has ever been.  There was not a river of water covering our feet as before so this was cake-walk.  We said the stations of the cross on the way up only stopping at the chapel to St. Michael on the way.  We finished the stations and went into the pines to see Our Lady and again pray for all your intentions.  As we had promised Deacon John Giglio ... our first Prayers were for his wife, Marianne.  Then we left several written intentions in the tree of the apparitions as we had promised and spent a long time there alone, peaceful and at home.
To get off the mountain we always take the long way, or should I say the easy way (another secret).  We have trouble making our way up the gorge let alone trying to come down.  I can't imagine the seers when in ecstasy running down backwards.  We said our rosary on the way down in total peace. As we passed the fountain I stopped for a drink and I asked Susan if she needed some water, she did so I helped her down and told her the one on the right was hot and the other cold. She said "great ... I can wash my hands with the hot water ... Boy is she gulilble.  I got a sweet wack from a walking stick but it was worth the laugh. We were a little wet from our walk, not like our first visit when we came down in the rain and were completely dry.
We headed for the hotel to unload the car for the night, change and I kept a close eye on the time not wanting to miss SOUP.  We had met a fellow from England on our way up to the pines as he was walking down.  He had just discovered Garabandal 2 weeks ago and had to come back.  Something had touched him spiritually and he couldn't explain it. By the way he has a disability on his right side affecting his arm and leg and with great difficulty I watched him make his way, happy as can be. We planned to meet him at the restaurant tonight since he had discovered it and booked a reservation. Over the years we have met some wonderful people here along some evil ones that lurke in the shadows but we ignore them cause they are everywhere.
Realizing it was almost 8 PM and so we wouldn't miss soup and our new friend we headed to the restaurant finding him already engaged in the meal.  We shared stories as we ate, us with our soup and him with his main course that looked and smelled delicious.  Sari came out to make sure we didn't want anything else and I smiled at her with my best puppy dog eyes. Without a word she left and returned in 2 minutes with a platter full of this wonderful meat and potatoes.  She knew!  It could have been dog but Susan and I managed to finish every drop. Three full meals today and still had her home made dessert. We couldn't offend her!!!
After a few brandy's in the bar with our new friend and another Englishman talking about Garabandal (He lives in the town down the mountain and also has just started a web site on Garabandal, he loves this place as much as all of us) and a sloppy e-mail I sent out we headed to bed.  Other than the sounds of the bells around the necks of the horses and cows the town was at peace and quiet.  Just beautiful!
Sleeping in late we headed for the restaurant for coffee but found out that Mass today was at 9:30 AM so we headed right for the church.  Father Yolando's Masses are special.  He is a very holy and dedicated man and today's Mass was no different.  At the end of Mass he made an announcement in English about tomorrows service.  He smiled at us as he said it.
We headed back for our coffee and we had told them last night no breakfast, just coffee, but the table was set and they had toast and cakes waiting for us, so what could we do but eat. 
We had only this one special day this year in Garabandal and we were not disappointed and we really never want to leave, but the sun was shining for our journey as we had our last Apparition site to visit near Madrid, some 6 hours away, before we leave for home on Thursday.  We can't believe we have to come home already, the time flew by.
I don't know how many apparitions sites and shrines we have visited over the last 3 years, maybe 40, I can say they are all very very special, but there is something extraordinary about this tiny little town of San Sebastian de Garabandal that will draw you to come back and back once you experience it.  We'll be back, God willing!
Enough for now I will catch up as soo as I can get the internet again.
God Bless and good night
Susan & Tom