Just by accident did I read about this UNIQUE EVENT, when Pope Francis arrived in the USA, only two days later than this Italian Saint.
Learning about her travel schedule to 54 US Cities, starting out at the East Coast, also Atlanta was on the list. But that day we could not go.
So I was delighted to find that on October 28, she would come to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville, Florida, which is only 3 hours and 35 minutes driving distance from us!
Yes she flew from Italy to the USA and traveled along the East Coast like this...
PILGRIMAGE OF MERCY
TOUR OF THE MAJOR RELICS OF
ST. MARIA GORETTI
This is a prayer card that I have since I was a child, given to me by my most favorite Great-Uncle and Priest Dr. Sjang Nelissen, who went to the Vatican Council.
Yes, there had been an Italian connection between 'Heeroom' (Great-Uncle Priest) and me, going back half a century.
He studied Church Law in Rome and I was so delighted when I received special stamps from the Vatican Council, that he brought back for me.
Don't know where they are now... I always passed on everything to my siblings!
But before we too started living and working in Italy, there was this special connection.
This is the beautiful Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville, Florida.
Just click on the above hyperlink to see a Pdf about it.
We arrived around 5:00 PM so we had ample time for the public veneration and would find us a spot for the Solemn Mass at 7:00 PM.
We only had to walk 8 minutes for the 700 m from our Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront so that was very convenient and the weather was 29°C or 84°F that day.
The Angels from heaven were supporting those pilgrims, coming to see St. Maria Goretti!
The Basilica is in the shape of a cross and you can see where we managed to have a seat.
Such beautiful architecture with 37 stained glass windows!
We had ample time for admiring this beauty and taking it all in...
As much as I love ANGELS, I certainly had come to the right place!
And here is the glass coffin with the skeletal remains of St. Maria Goretti...
Her face is created out of wax.
Loved the Angel Heads on all four corners of her glass coffin...
And Angel heads on top...
Angels are everywhere, up on each pillar are carved Italian Angels with trumpets.
Overlooking the choir loft you notice a large window with the Immaculate Conception figure, surrounded by Angels singing.
Those stained glass windows are made by the Mayer Stained Glass Company in Munich, Germany.
The Basilica is filling up its approximately 560 seats with lots of people ending up standing in the isles...
Daylight is fading and the interior looks even more magical.
Mass is about to start and the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard is lined up...
This is a photo from 2 November post on the FB Page: Pilgrimage of Mercy: Tour of the Major Relics of St. Maria Goretti and husband Pieter and I are visible to the left of the purple hat..., I am standing next to the pillar and adjusting my iPhone.
Here in the center you see Celebrant: Reverend Edward Murphy and St. Maria Goretti remained to the right in the front of the Basilica before the high altar of Italian Carrara marble.
There were maybe close to twenty Priests in this Solemn and partly Latin Mass that was such a blessing for being able to attend. For us it felt like being back in The Netherlands, or being back in Italy where Mass sounded a lot more similar. Sure the beautiful Basilica added to the incredible experience as well.
The sad fact however is that when I picked up a thick, local newspaper the next morning, anxious to read about this rare event, there was nothing. From Fr. Murphy I did learn that it got sent out to all media outlets in the north Florida area but quite unfortunately they did not pick it up. Even when his Church became a Basilica some years ago, they ignored the crowds and dignitaries that came.
Citizen Journalism is ALL that is left...
May our Angels and Saints pray with us for this World and especially at this time around the birth of our Prince of PEACE...
Who is St. Maria? - Pilgrimage of Mercy | Pdf with more info
NC Register | St. Maria Goretti's 'Pilgrimage of Mercy' | Pdf with more info
Body of St. Maria Goretti Arriving in the U.S. | Pdf with more info about the Saints life
Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville, FL | Pdf with info
A Story of Great Mercy St. Maria Goretti & Alessandro Serenely | Pdf with photos and full story
Basilica of the Immaculate Conception | video about this incredible building!
Just watch on YouTube and it automatically will go to the next version at the end; total of 15.