Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Malta and Spain

After exams I was able to make two pilgrimages.  The first was to Malta to go to the places where St. Paul walked.  Malta is the Island which St. Paul ship wrecked on in the bible.  We were able to make this pilgrimage on the feast day of the ship wreck, Feb. 10th, so the locals were really pulling out all the stops.  It was a blessed time.  I prayed asking for St. Pauls intercession for our diocese.
This is a chapel built into the cave which St. Paul would have stayed in while ship wrecked as well as many others over the centuries after him.  Cardinals from Africa on their way to the Council of Nicaea stopped here in the early 4th century.  I was blessed to be traveling with a priest and he said Mass for us at this altar.

This is a picture of Michael Niemczak (classmate at NAC from the diocese of Santa Fe) and I standing before the cliffs on the Island of Victoria just north of Malta.  Yes, I am wearing a helmet, as you will see below, we rented mo-peds for the 3 day stay.  It was a bit cold but a lot of fun.  

The Mo-ped gang.  

As you can see the shore line was beautiful.   Pretty nice boat as well.  

I didn't know it but apparently Malta has some of the oldest man made ruins in the world (3700 BC)
Older than Stonehenge (3000 BC)

 To the left is a picture of the statue of St. Paul which the locals process through the streets for hours.  To the right is a picture of the street decorated for the feast.  People were in the windows of the buildings dropping down confetti the entire time and there was music from brass bands all over.  

This is a picture of our whole group
along with a couple seminarians from Malta.

The second pilgrimage was to Spain where we visited Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Our Lady at Montserrat.  
This is a picture of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  It has been under construction non stop since the late 1800's.  
The place we stayed was in the foothills outside of Barcelona.  It was an old farm house with a vineyard which had not been operational for years.  But Carles, the current owner, purchased it about 14 years ago and has been fixing it up and getting some of the farming rolling again.  He has no vines yet but he does have olive trees, almond trees, a garden and a bunch of chickens.  We went out to the chicken coop each morning to grab some fresh eggs for breakfast.

Carles had three dogs which were very happy to see us.  They even accompanied us for a hike one day which was a blessing because we got a bit lost and the big dog led us right back to the house.

The Benedictine monks Chapel at Montserrat.
Before the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat.

As always I am grateful for your support and prayers.  Know that every pilgrimage I make I keep you all in my prayers.  May our Lord and our Lady keep you during this season of Lent and may you have a blessed Easter.

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