The pilgrimage for myself and my daughter Julia has ended and now I am left with wonderful memories. We had a perfect drive to Cincinnati which we started at 6 AM. We saw the sky begin to light up and the rising of the sun. We found some perfect and fitting music to listen to as we drove.
Stop 1: The Creation Museum was very nice and I really appreciated a presentation on the Resurrection. Very fitting given the day.
Stop 2: The Dead Sea Scrolls was my favorite part of the trip. We were not allowed to take any pictures of the scrolls but there was many artifacts from the same time period(see picture). These were just as important to me as the scrolls and I greatly appreciate the 1000s of hours that archaeologists have spent to bring these artifacts back to existence. I had a spiritually moving feeling as I walked through these artifacts and the scrolls. I was in the presence of objects and writings that were created and in use at the same time that God walked the Earth as man.
Stop 3: We then visited Saint Joseph’s Orphanage where our Aunt Caroline lived for 1 year when she was 6 years old. Unfortunately we could not get in because it is a holiday and no one was at the front desk. We did get some pictures to take and also found out that this might not be the original orphanage where she stayed since they moved sometime ago. We will need to do more research and try to get more details for our next visit. May God bless those children and may they find the love of God and family they so rightfully deserve.
Stop 4: After the orphanage, we visited the “praying on the steps”. This is a 140 year old tradition of the Roman Catholics that is done every good Friday (http://2011.hciparish.org/?page_id=147). There was a very long line just to make it to the steps and we did not get an opportunity to make it to the steps. It was still well worth the visit and very inspiring to see so many Christians calmly and quietly saying a prayer on each step and to see so many waiting patiently for their turn. Since these were all my planning and direction, it was now Julia’s turn to choose the next activity.
Julia has always wanted to dine at a Cheesecake factory which we found not too far from Cincinnati. Through God’s grace and strength, I was able to maintain the Orthodox Lenten fast but temptation certainly was there. We had a very nice meal, walk around a mall for a while, and then we checked into our Hotel.
Our plan for today is to visit an outlet mall on the way home (my incentive to Julia for putting up with me) and then get home in time for the Vigil Mass at Good Shepherd. Joseph Loria and I will be providing the annual bonfire through the Boy Scouts for the lighting of the candles. Last year we started the fire too early and consumed all the wood we had. When the people and the priest came out, the fire was but a tiny flame and I was so worried that it would be out before the Priest had lit the main ceremonial candle. As the Priest said the vigil prayer, Joseph and I watched with astonishment as the flame began to rise and the fire became full blown again. We looked at each other and knew that help and assistance had been sent to us. May God bless you all on these days that are recognized by so many as the most important celebration of the year.