DEEP IN PRAYER
I haven't been to Massachusetts but my Catholic faith brought me there today. No, not to Boston which has always been at odds with New York over such mundane matters as Red Sox vs. Yankees. Rather, we drove to Stockbridge, up into the hilltop location of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy. This is where the Divine Mercy Sunday Weekend is held annually, attracting some 20,000 pilgrims coming from all over the country (and nearby Canada).
NATIONAL SHRINE OF THE DIVINE MERCY
Despite the weather forecast for a sunny springtime weather, I brought extra layer with me just in case. I was told about the fickle weather in this area of the Berkshires. It was a smooth two-and-half hour trip from New York with Ate Emma, Ate Elaine and Jeanne. We parked at a remote designated parking lot and had lunch right by the car. Buses brought pilgrims from the parking lots to the shrine's entrance in a very orderly manner. There's a lot of Pinoy faces - I'm sure there's one bus of them coming from my parish in Flushing. A paved path in the midst of so many trees led us to the Shrine itself, already filled with a very long queue of people waiting to get inside.
Our main objective though was to attend the Holy Mass at the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine. The grounds were swollen with people and umbrellas. The only available area left for us was at the back. No matter, it's still part of the sacrifice more so since we have to stand up the whole time under the scorching afternoon sun. Midway through the solemn liturgy, emergency medical technicians helped scores of pilgrims feeling giddy from the heat. After two hours, the Mass was over and we made it quickly inside the Shrine just as the Divine Mercy novena was starting and just as another long queue was forming for people to get in.
After walking around the expansive grounds and inside a very packed giftshop, we prayed briefly at the Adoration Tent. We walked back to our waiting buses that brought us back again to the remote parking lots. Everyone felt blessed. For this weekend at least, Catholic Yankee fans set aside sports rivalry with the Red Sox. Blessings, you know, don't always have to come in a form of a winning home run.