Friday, October 22, 2010

Prayers for Marshall

It is wonderful to be back in the greatest country in the world! My flights from Rome to Paris to Atlanta to Nashville were quite memorable -- from the momentary panic of losing my passport and boarding pass in Rome to having my bags searched in Paris and being pulled aside by the Customs office in Atlanta. But, as they say, all's well that ends well.

Within hours after returning to the U.S., I received news of a prayer campaign being waged for a 16-year-old high school junior here in Nashville, Tennessee. His name is Marshall Billingsley and he is fighting a rare form of bone cancer that has spread to one of his lungs. Friends and family of Marshall decided to call on the intercession of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and have launched a Facebook page called, "Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for Marshall Billingsley."

They are asking as many people as possible to pray the following each day:

"O merciful God,
Who through the perils of the world
deigned to preserve by Your grace
Your servant Pier Giorgio Frassati
pure of heart and ardent of charity,
listen, we ask You, to our prayers and,
if it is in Your designs that he be glorified by the Church,
show us Your will,
granting us the graces we ask of You,
particularly, a complete and miraculous healing for Marshall Billingsley,

through his intercession,
by the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen."

For those of you in the Nashville area, a Benefit Concert is being held on November 4th and all are invited to attend. You can also follow Marshall's journey via the CaringBridge website. Blessed Pier Giorgio...pray for Marshall.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Arrivederci Roma!

I have been "across the pond" for quite some time now and have put a lot of miles on my sandals! I must admit I am really looking forward to returning to the U.S. It has been a very busy time here in Italy but not all of it has been related to Pier Giorgio. I am just recently back from a week in Calabria where I was able to spend time with a lot of my Italian relatives.

The amazing thing about traveling around Italy is that every place seems more beautiful than the one you just left. Calabria is no exception. With the mountains and the sea and the olive trees and the wonderful people, it is a fabulous place to visit. I was spoiled rotten by my relatives with meal after meal of delicious homemade food, including the wine and olive oil. There are no words to describe both the joy of having such a loving family and the sorrow of having them so far away. In any case, I was grateful for the time to spend with them and left with many special memories and handmade treasures.

Back in Rome, the Lord continued to be full of surprises. On October 7th, I attended Mass for Luciana Frassati who died in 2007 at the age of 105 on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I chose Santa Maria in Trastevere and was not disappointed. It was a special place to be on that particular feast day. Yesterday, on October 8th, the Holy Spirit led me to attend evening Mass at San Crisogono. I had planned to go somewhere else but had to change at the last minute. I was not at all aware that it was the Solemnity of Our Lady of Good Remedy -- the patroness of the Trinitarians who are centered in that church. How wonderful to pray in front of her icon there on her feast day! Today, Wanda suggested we attend Chiesa Nuova. I had no idea that it is the first feast day for the recently beatified John Henry Newman -- the newest pride of the Oratorians who are centered in Chiesa Nuova! It was a Facebook friend who pointed that out. So, my last three days have been one special moment after another. God is good...all the time!

With the necessary check-in time, layovers and travel time, it will take me 24 hours to get home tomorrow -- assuming all goes well! Depending on the jetlag I experience, it may take me a few days to surface! I appreciate all of the prayers offered during the time I have been here in Europe and will continue to remember all of your intentions at Mass this evening. Ciao from Roma and Verso l'alto!