Wednesday, October 10, 2012



Buenos Dias:
Woke up this morning at 4:00 A.M. in our oceanfront room .... both of us thinking that it was time to get up until we looked at the clock.  Susan and I decided to sit out on the balcony for a few minutes and enjoyed the quiet lapping of the ocean waves and the peace and contentment that came with it.  Back to bed to finish what turned out to be our "ten hour nap".  It was so beautiful and calm on the med I decided to a swim in the sea for a little early morning exercise.  Afterwards we showered and packed (the usual) and went down to a "real BREAK-FAST" ... that included the works ... eggs, fried ham, croissants, fresh fruits of all types, cereals, etc., etc. (and baked beans???).  Had several cups of our favorite Cafe Leche'' to wake us up. We ate very little bread this morning.
  Exhilarated and refreshed, we checked out of the hotel and made our way to Valencia, Spain.  It was a pretty boring ride for the most part; however, I did manage to cruise at 101 MPH for a period of time on the superhighway since the highway was virtually empty and I felt comfortable ... I Love This Car!
Princess ("GPS") did a great job of getting us to the Valencia Cathedral.  She even made it easy on me so that I didn't have to search for a parking place ... there was a parking lot right in front of the Cathedral that was in an underground garage.  PERFECT!  10 minutes later, we entered the Valencia Cathedral.  We paid the $15.00 entrance fee which included earphones and a taped narrative of each of the 21 Chapels, the Religious Museum and, most importantly, The Holy Grail!  The 15 bucks was well worth the price of admission.
When we paid our "vig" and got our "equipment", we asked if there were going to be any Masses and she pointed to a small Side Chapel near the front of the Cathedral.  We had to go out one side of the front door and enter through another to get to Mass.  There was a guard there that wasn't going to let us in because we had the "equipment" with us.  We tried to assure him that we would not be playing with the earphones ... that we simply wanted to attend Mass.  We think he understood and finally just smiled, shook his head a bit (American pilgrims) and allowed us through.  We attended a beautiful Mass with an elderly Priest that reminded us of Monsignor Bill Carey (God Rest His Soul).  What a perfect way to start the day ... with Mass.
Afterwards, we left the one side door and re-entered the Cathedral through the other side door (LOL) to begin our tour.  At each Shrine, we stopped and listened to the wonderful narratives and took time for photos (lots of Church & Bascilica photos today ... it was not a "mountain" day").
We finally made our way to the last stop ... The Holy Grail ... the Cup used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper.  As we have experienced with other Shrines relating to the life of Jesus Christ and/or his Miraculous Hosts, it is just indescribable and incredible to be able to experience being so close to Our Lord in His Life and in His Death ... and after.  We have been Blessed to have seen a few of the Eucharistic Miracle Shrines; His actual blood from Calvary; have venerated his Cross and, now, we knelt before the Chalice with which he proclaimed our salvation and instituted the Holy Eucharist!  Just an awesome some what overwhelming experience.


We Prayed in the Chapel of the Holy Grail for quite some time before departing for our new stop ... The Basilica of Our Lady of the Abandoned and Helpless.  We certainly had a lot of Special Intentions from many of you to deliver to Our Lady at this Shrine.
Susan took over guiding us out of the Cathedral, behind the Cathedral and across to the Basilica of Our Lady ... As skeptical as I was to follow her without dispute, she led us right to the door of the Basilica (Susan has become quite the navigator).
Angelic music was flowing out of the Basilica from within.  As we entered, we saw that Mass was in progress.  We knelt and Prayed and watched as the Boys' Choir sang fervently ... it was a beautiful sight and sound.
This was the second Mass of the day for us.  We thought that we might make up for missing Mass yesterday (not that we hadn't tried").  But we opted not to receive Communion for the second time.
When Mass concluded, we began to explore the Basilica.  As with the Valencia Cathedral, the sculptures and artwork were extraordinary.  The Statue of Our Lady of Abandonment was breathtaking.  We examined every inch of this wonderful tribute to Our Blessed Mother.
So far, we were "2 of 2" today with the Shrines on our Itinerary for the day ... we were thrilled.  Before leaving the Valencia Cathedral Square for our next scheduled stop which was 3-4 miles away based upon "Princess's" calculations, we wanted to stop in a Religious Store for our usual memento and a medal for Susan's (not very heavy) bracelet.  No Luck!  Once again, it was 2:00 P.M. and "siesta time" ... in the countries we have been traveling, it seems that virtually everything closes down at 2:00 P.M. and doesn't re-open until 4:00 P.M. ... difficult when you're dealing with an itinerary and time and travel stops.  We did manage to find one small shop open and we picked up our little religious table memento for home.  We decided to stop for a quick beer ... it was so hot outside and we had less than a 10 mile journey for the remainder of the day until we would reach our hotel for the evening.
After a brief respite, our next stop was going to be the Shrine of Our Lady of the Innocent.  We drove there and, again, had to follow very, very narrow roads to get there.  It was hidden in the middle of a residential area but we finally found it.  Of course ... IT WAS CLOSED!!!!  We asked a local when it/if it would be opened today and he said 7pm.  Sad not to have been able to visit this Shrine but this one is the original shrine to Our Lady of The Innocent that we had just visited.  Our 4 th stop was postponned until the morning since it was past our hotel and we sure that it was not open at this hour. so we headed for our hotel to check in.
We arrived at the hotel and all plans involving the car were nixed when we unloaded our luggage and the receptionist guided me to their parking garage.  I left Susan at the hotel elevator and said "I'll be right back after I park the car".  Well, once the car ... with me in it ... went down a very, very tight "lift" (or descent I guess I should call it) ...and down into the very narrow garage, I had to make 3 "K" Turns just to get the car into the lift that took me to the parking.  I decided then and there that the car was going to be able to sleep for the remainder of the day and night ... I wasn't going through the "lift experience" again until it is time to depart the hotel tomorrow. 
We got ourselves situated in our room.  Susan had "a lot" of typing to catch up on.  We have developed, over the past several days, a new way to work on our Trip Reports, photos, etc. for all of you during our "unused" time on the roads or in the hotel rooms.  I will either write the trip report and Susan will transcribe it, or I will dictate the report to her as I am driving and she will type it later.  She has this "strange" way of taking dictation or a very short-hand ... impossible for me to try to read and transcribe it so she's on her own.  Once we are stationed in our hotel room for the evening, we will re-read the report, edit it, add the stories that I had previously saved with information on the Shrines for the day and ... VIOLA ... you have our Trip Report!  Sounds easy doesn't it????  Not!!! But we both love doing it and sharing these Shrines and photos and experiences with all of you.  (Oh, forgot to mention downloading the photos ... going through them with a "yeah" or a "nay" and deciding what photos to send on to you ... many never make it to the "final production" to send to you.)
Back to the story for the day ... I left Susan at the computer and ventured out to get us some food and supplies.  I asked for directions at the front desk so that I could find a "Mini-Marche" ... I knew from the small town that a SuperMarche was out of the question.  She pointed me in the right direction and I headed off for what I thought would be a short walk down the street.  Well, after walking almost 2 miles in one direction in search of the "Mini-Marche", I finally found it.  Then I had to negotiate my way back to the hotel ... thank goodness I did some "mental landmarks" on my walk to the store or I would still be out there walking around and trying to find the hotel. 
I got back to the hotel after over an hour ... loaded with "goodies".  Susan was still punching away at the keyboard so I quietly took a shower to cool down ... I wasn't sweating ... just hot ... after all, "pretty boys don't sweat!".
We kept working while we enjoyed a homemade dinner (sandwich) and I had some sardines & oysters (out of cans).  We continued to play "catch-up" on our trip reports, update "Princess/GPS" for the next few stops and call it a day.
We finally rolled into bed around 9:30 P.M.  We decided to set the alarm for 6:00 A.M. in the morning so that we could get a very early start on the day's pilgrim stops ... instead of 4 stops, we had not added The Shrine of the Eucharistic Miracle in Silla, Spain to our list.
After tomorrow (Wednesday), we are "finally" on the "mini-vacation" for a couple of days on the Mediterranean Sea in a large 2 bedroom apartment close to the beach where we can both spread out all of our luggage, do some laundry, get to the beach for some "beach-time", and just "try to relax" after what has been an exhilarating personal pilgrimage.  Our accommodations, as far as we know, do not provide Internet/Wi-Fi Services so we don't know whether or not we will even be or get online during these couple of days.  If you don't hear from us ... don't fret ... I hope that means we are getting some "well-deserved" quiet time for the two of us to spend together and recuperate.
We want to thank all of you again for all of your emails ... they are great and we love reading them (and your comments) at the end of each day.  They really help to keep us going and we appreciate all of your kind thoughts and words.  We continue to hope that all of the Special Intentions you entrusted us with on this journey will be answered ... nothing, absolutely nothing would make us happier.
                                                LUKE 22:14
May God Bless You All,
Tom & Susan
Healthy scpeticism is expected, but this seems to be the real deal.
The Holy Grail (Santo Caliz) in the Cathedral of Valencia, SpainYour quest for the Holy Grail is complete once you land in Valencia.
It is inevitable that such a seemengly bold claim will evoke a cynical grin from most people who hear of the Holy Grail kept in the Valencia Cathedral. However, and contrary to how it may seem, such scepticism is an uninformed reaction, rather than otherwise.
It is common knowledge that if you collect all the nails with which Jesus was cruxified, it turns out that the poor guy had a few hundred nails in Him. And you could build a house from all the wood that is claimed to be part of His cross. However, it is just not like that with the Cup that can be much more scientifically analysed and cross-examined with various historical records and references. As a result, every single claim in the world have been dispelled. Apart from that of the Valencia Cathedral. On the contrary - historians all over the world point all their evidence to this item as being the authentic Cup used in the Last Supper.
Hollywood has, as usual, impregnated the public with a pseudo-historical moment of truth. Indiana Jones speculates that the Cup was wooden since Jesus was a carpenter. Well, shoe-makers don't drink from leather cups and blacksmiths don't make their own steel mugs. While it would be absurd to see a golden or platinum cup used by Jesus, it is also a bit silly to expect Him to have found time in His very busy schedule to make all kinds of cutlery and domestic items for His following, rather than just buy one on the market or have one donated. Porous wooden cups, impractical and forbidden for the Jewish Passover, are unlikely to have been used by Him.
In fact, the Cup is made of agate stone - a popular material for drink vessels in those times. It is a homogenous piece cut out entirely from a lare chunk of agate, 9 cm in diameter. Naturally, decorations of gold and pearls were added to the supporting structure over the centuries.
The Holy Grail is believed to had been left in the house where the Last Supper took place - a house belonging to the family of St Mark the Evangelists, who later took it to Rome when he went to serve as an interpreter for St Peter. Passed on within the church and used as Papal Chalice, the relic was shipped out of Rome in 3rd century by St Lawrence, in anticipation of a persecution. It was taken out of Rome in the hands of a Spanish soldier to Huesca, Spain. During the Muslim occupation of the Iberic peninsula, the Grail went into hiding and later re-emerged in various Spanish monasteries and cathedrals. The Kings of Spain looked after it, on occasions taking it into their treasuries or palaces, until it was finally presented to the Valencia Cathedral in XV century, where it remained ever since. It briefly left the Cathedral only twice, both times during the 1930s Civil War, for fears of plunder.
To be totally fair, the Cup in the Antioch Cathedral also passes tests on authenticity. However, it is way too large to be passed around as a cup. Records refer to two cups being used in the Last Supper - one as a communal tank for wine and the other as a cup to drink from.

 Our Lady of the Innocent


It was on the morning of the first Sunday in Lent, 1409, on his way to preach the homily at the Mass higher in the Valencia Cathedral, the religious order mercedaria, Fray Juan Gilabert Jofre, a contemporary and friend of St. Vincent Ferrer, observed during the trip that a group of boys cruelly mistreated a poor madman. The good friar spoke to the aid of the unfortunate and after stopping and reprimanding the young, went his way deeply impressed by the event. So much so that modified the content of his sermon, including in it an emotional call to charity and for the "ignoscentes" that left to their misery in the streets, were subjected to all kinds of abuse and also protect citizens of their unconscious actions. not his words fell on empty as their reasons burning permeated the minds of those present, among whom was a merchant named Lorenzo Salom, who emerged as the main supporter and effective advocate of the idea, so So nineteen days after the General Council of the City was studying the initiative and two and a half months later, work started on a hospital for this purpose.
 The paper was founded, signed by King Martin V the Human, the March 15, 1410, states, and therein lies the originality of the proposal, that humanitarian assistance dispensed to welcome there, they also provide assistance care, which meant, culturally and scientifically, the foundation of l world's first psychiatric hospital. The institution was named in Valencia's' Hospital dels Ignocens, Folls and Orats "which, according to modern psychiatry, is for" feeble-minded, psic√≥sico and demented. " In principle, Pope Benedict XIII gave owners and patrons of the new hospital Innocent Martyrs Saints, being the only saints to whom the church offers worship without having reached the age of reason in his short life threatening. However, led by the fervor of his devotion to Mary, the Valencian people began to take the habit of naming the new hospital with the name "Sancta Maria dels Dona Nostra Innocens", ie, Our Lady of the Innocents. Such was the roots that reached the name the pope took the name itself of the privilege of founding a guild.
 From this was born a curious way dedicated to the Virgin before her image representative. guild or brotherhood Said came up with the idea of supporting the hospital with more resources and manpower. Its members practice the same proposed works of mercy of the hospital and also attend the funeral of the insane and brothers, expenses of the Hospital and religious events. The zeal and enthusiasm of the Brotherhood soon wanted to expand the scope of its assistance beyond the hospital and thus established between its standards support to those facing death, providing spiritual comfort and Christian burial, also established relief and aid to brothers themselves in case of illness, death of spouse or death. Soon he began to attend shipwrecked, destitute and prostitutes expresses grace of Dona Maria of Castile, wife of Alfonso the Magnanimous, King of the Crown of Aragon. The Brotherhood gained great expansion, creating another hospital where they were welcomed and cared for all kinds of marginalized.
 It stipulated aids orphans skills to prisoners and needy, for foundlings, and amounts for the ransom of captives in the land of infidels. In this context, was the need to provide a new image of the Virgin to represent the sponsorship of the insane and the pious Hospital Guild, so that without pretended, had emerged a new invocation Our Lady intended to have universal coverage. By decree of King Ferdinand signed in Barcelona on June 3, 1493, the invocation was given the title of Our Lady of the Innocents and the Homeless.
The image, which was designed in size and flat back in order to be able to accommodate over the coffin of the deceased brothers lying down, although in feasts and solemnities appeared upright and with a mantle of silk, the current source, to disguise this fact. At first the image is kept and venerated in the house of clavario of the Brotherhood, but after two hundred years of survival of this custom, and before that it had serious drawbacks, went a little chapel in the Cathedral Square, where arose later, in 1652, the current basilica minor, given dignity by Pope Pius XII, by recognizing, rather than their artistic value, its value as a center and symbol espirtitual of Marian devotion and encouragement of countless Valencia works of

mercy. Well into the twentieth century, Pope John XXIII, states "... the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of OUR LADY OF THE HOMELESS, Celestial Patroness before God MAIN WHOLE REGION REGION ... " The onomastics of "Amparo" is celebrated on May 8, although in the city of Valencia celebrated with great solemnity and celebration on the second Sunday of the month.