It was another opportunity I could not afford to miss. Ever thankful for all the blessings I have received in the past year, I devoted my time for the Feast of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts last Sunday. It was a great day outdoors and a great day to be closer to God. At the Adoration Tent (picture above), a pilgrim kneels and prays, seeking solace in God's presence.
Getting to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy involved a drive some 130 miles north of New York City or about two and a half hours on the road. The scenery changed from wooded areas starting to show some greens. . .
. . . and finally into the Berkshire Hills, or simply called The Berkshires, a highland region in the Massachusetts area which inspired Norman Rockwell, America's favorite 20th-century illustrator and painter, to settle down in Stockbridge where the Shrine is located.
We made it just in time for a picnic lunch at one of the remote designated parking lots. Cars were not allowed up into the hilltop location of the Shrine due to space limitations. There were other Pinoys who just like us, found it convenient to simply spread the mat right next to the cars and have a little feast. We got all hungry after driving from New York.
From the car park, school buses ferried everyone to the main entrance of the Shrine. Being on a yellow school bus made me feel like a student again never mind if back in the days when I was a student, I actually rode on jeepneys and tricycles in the Philippines.
We walked for several minutes from where the bus left us and thought how tranquil this place must be at other times.
The Shrine last Sunday saw about 20,000 pilgrims, many coming by bus from different parishes around the country and even from nearby Canada. This is the biggest gathering I've seen of Catholics in the US.
Tents were erected for those with prayer petitions and prayer offerings. God is good, God is great - my petitions last year were granted!
There were so many Pinoys in the crowd and you already know who loves to bring out the umbrella when the sun is shining brightly, don't you?
In fairness to the umbrella ladies (and gents), an open air 2-hour Holy Mass at 1 PM is certainly not what the Dermatologist ordered. But faith is beyond skin deep or wrinkles or blotches on the epidermis. Rain or shine, devotion to God always takes precedence.