Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saint Philomena Conference!

Even though we got to bed at 3 AM this morning following last night's Notre Dame game, the Holy Spirit helped us to awake at 9 AM, and we felt quite spunky!

So we drove to Lansdown, PA for the kick-off mass of the Saint Philomena Conference!  The Universal Living Rosary Association (of which Michael and I are members and of which I've blogged about before here) was one of the organizations which helped to bring this conference about!

Father Don Giovanni from her shrine in Mugnano, Italy would be the homilist!  Since we didn't get to meet him on our honeymoon when we traveled to Italy, this was our next best shot!

It was great to see St. Philomena's beautiful church packed with people.  As we sat with our friends Jenny, Marc, and Melanie, I thought about how special this church was to me, for it was in this church back in March 2009 that I experienced great solitude late at night and received a special, affirming message from Jesus through Scripture.  If you recall, I blogged about that wonderful experience in the post entitled Life As a Farmer's Field.  And my experience happened right there on the side altar, closest to St. Philomena's life-size statue and relic, although I did not fully realize then that she and I were at the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  And I certainly didn't expect that a few years later I'd return to this church to thank her with my beloved husband beside me!

After a beautiful mass with a great choir and trumpet player, we all traveled to Marian Hall, where they served us a delicious lunch.  We had a chance to browse tables of literature, sacramentals, and gifts related to our beloved little saint.  For $4, Michael bought me a beautiful tiny pendant that bears St. Philomena's image.

Author, professor, husband, permanent deacon, and father of eight, Dr. Mark Miravalle was supposed to be one of the afternoon's speakers -- and we couldn't wait to hear him.  But because everything took longer than expected due to the huge quantity of people that needed to migrate from the church to the hall and then progress through the line to obtain food, Dr. Miravalle had to leave to catch his plane home!  What an unexpected disappointment!

Although we were sad, we were not abandoned.  The Holy Spirit immediately started working through our friend Father Kevin who spontaneously volunteered to give a speech on our little saint.  Since he loves her so much and knows her so well, he must have spoken an hour on her -- so easily and beautifully, all rich and full of detail.  We clapped hard when he finished.  He did a fantastic job!  I can't imagine that Dr. Miravalle could have done any better!  Haha!

We left after his speech, although the conference would continue for a few hours more, concluding with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  On the walk out, we enjoyed learning more about the details of how Jenny and Marc met (through and how they came to be engaged (just last week)! 

God certainly works in beautiful, mysterious ways!  God, thank you for Our Lady and for little St. Philomena, our powerful intercessor!