"No, it will be too cold." Everyone who knows me knows I hate COLD weather. Normally with temperatures in the 30's, I wear sweats, two heavy blankets and three cats sleeping beside me.
But I needed a vacation. So I said, "Yes".
Yes, it was cold and raining on our way to Dallas. I thanked Denise Lanik, our driver, who did a great job. On arrival in Dallas, we were met by Father Michael at the St John Neumann Vietnamese Redemptorist Monastery. Father Michael had just finished a retreat for the seminarians there before they left for Christmas vacation.
We had our Sunday Mass and our Consecration to the Unborn Jesus Pilgrimage began. The pilgrims had rented a large home and we invited Father Michael to join us for dinner. Marilda Hugo had fixed a delicious vegetable soup, broccoli cornbread and homemade cookies. Thank you, Marilda, for feeding our bodies. Not only did we have a family community with our dinner, but we were blessed with further teachings by Father Michael. Denise Lanik and Jeanette Arellano drove Father back to the monastery.
The next day, December 14, 2020, it was still cold.! We showed up at the Monastery for morning prayer and Mass. More teachings, more prayer and after breakfast we visited the Discalcid Carmelite Center and Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral Shrine.
On December 15, 2020 , we drove to Winnsboro, Texas to visit the St Alphonsus Vietnamese Redemptorist Monastery. It is a very peaceful place for prayer. A great lunch of lasagna was served by the Redemptorists. After lunch we prayed the midday prayer and off we went to visit our PAPA bishop, Bishop Joseph Strickland, in Tyler Texas. Bishop Strickland is such a calm and cheerful person. In his soft voice he answered our questions and explained the importance of encouraging young men to enter the priesthood.
Our final day December 16, 2020, we arrived at the Monastery at 3:30 AM for morning prayer and Mass. We had breakfast at a restaurant , prayed over a young lady waitress who had requested prayers for her cancer.
Saying our goodbyes to anyone we love is always hard. But we did --and we thank God for such a great pilgrimage and we thank God for watching over us.
Let's plan on attending the 2021 Pilgrimage !!