So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, 19 and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Matthew 6:31-34

National Harbor Sun 6:50 AM

I’m mostly packed and well rested getting the full 6 hours of sleep having held a short version of DaTechGuy’s Midnight Court at 8 PM so I could get upstairs and be packed and ready for the shuttle to the airport at 9:30 but more important than the sleep is waking up reassured.

As some of you might know this CPAC trip was completely unexpected just one month ago what you might not know is that on Last Sunday this odd story took one more unexpected twist.

Valery had been unable to sleep and when I came downstairs she was in great pain requiring a trip to the ER.  Seven hours later we left with a diagnosis of a bad gall bladder that had to come out, the doctor set up a meeting with the surgeon for Wednesday and said both work that morning was no prob and CPAC also looked good as this was routine.

When I got home from work Monday Morning after work and mass Valery was up, she had slept well due to the prescriptions but was planning to contact our personal physician to ill him and our insurance in so I did some packing then hit the sack.

By the time I had woken up her pain was back and our doctor had called seeing the ultrasounds etc and said he wanted her in the ER not in Leominster but at St. Vincent’s in Worcester that evening.  The determination was she needed the surgery this week, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

My wife and sons insisted that CPAC should go on, I had not been here for the last two years and my oldest assured me he could handle things here, after all the surgery is routine.  He had even managed to find my cell phone missing for 5 months (with a holy card & relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe on it)

So to CPAC I went arriving Tuesday, still worried but sure things would work out.  Tuesday evening we talked and Val was tired by OK.  Wednesday the surgery took place in the evening and everyone was reassuring me.  Thursday I was told there was some minor complications but again NBD.  Friday during a call Valery insisted I shouldn’t blame myself for not being there which given the situation I found odd but things went on normally and I found myself holding the Midnight court till 5 Am when I headed up to the room to sleep.

Saturday Val asked if I could get home quicker than the train could take me so I called my brother Dominic and asked him if he could get me at the airport instead.

At this point the story turns because my Sicilian brother violates the 1st rule of being Sicilian, he talked.

Apparently his son the nurse had visited my wife in the Hospital as he lives near, he knew the actual situation rather than what I had been told and mentioned it to his father who assumed I knew just how serious and non routine the complications and the prognosis for my wife was.

I was crushed but there was nothing to do.  By this time it was nearly noon, I was flying out in 24 hours and the added expense to try and get home that evening would simply add weight to a financial burden which was the least of my worries.  So I went downstairs camera in hand and carried on, getting several good interviews and appearing on a radio show to talk about TBS’s and Samantha Bee people’s attempted shenanigans with me before heading back to the room.

This displayed one of the few disadvantages of the sleep arrangement my friends were all there when I got the news and had been sympathetic and when I returned to the room Cynthia (A conservative Lesbian) continued to be, but I desperately needed to be alone.

Leaving my laptop behind I walked down to the BBQ place, where I had eaten each day (the Brisket is excellent) and asked for a seat out of people’s sight it was after 3 pm by now and the lunch crowd was gone so it was pretty easy to achieve this.  I removed the hat and put the monopod & camera aside and ate considering all the unpleasant futures that might be ahead.

At this point Evan Sayet came by and noticed me and saw immediately something was wrong.  I told him of my troubles, that helped a bit and by the time I left I was feeling a little better, but only a little.

As I re-entered the hotel Senator Santorum was trying to head for the door.  (To no avail as every single person wanted to shake his hand and take a picture, he was most accommodating to them all) I asked for an interview (uploaded later) and as he is very devout asked him to pray for my wife.

It was in that hall that I heard somebody say there was a Mass downstairs.

Now I had asked the EWTN folk if they knew of a priest saying daily mass days ago and had tweeted looking for a priest to no avail.  As soon as I had my interview I dashed downstairs asking a staff member if they knew about a mass.  I checked all over the bottom floor, no sign of any such thing.

So I headed up the 1st escalator and right across from the media registration desk I was intercepted by old friend Rob Whittermore saw me and directed to where the mass would be.

There were 30 chairs set up before a table, the priest had not arrived yet, and people were sitting in silent prayer.  The priest, a young man entered and started setting up when I realized nobody had Holy Water to bless themselves.  I had given away all the four large bottles I brought with me but remembered the small one in my suit pocket and proceeded to go from person to person to allow them to bless themselves as the priest vested himself.

He introduced himself as Fr. Bjorn Lomborg (not the skeptical environmentalist the one from the catholic radio show Morning Glory) and the sacrifice of the mass began.

It was a great comfort to me.  The first reading (Is 49:14-15) addressed my feelings.

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

The Psalm (62) and response reminded me of what to do

Rest in God alone, my soul.

But it was the Gospel for the day, Matthew 6:24-34 that hit me exactly where I was living at the moment

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

I was worrying about the future that worry wasn’t going to do any good.

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’

The best case scenarios running through my head all involved the return of debt far beyond what had been expected from the hospital stay.  This reminded me how foolish I was being

Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.

This brought to mind the message of divine mercy:  Jesus I trust in You.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

It was exactly what I needed when I needed to hear it and Fr.’s sermon built on that.

Just before Holy Communion Fr. dispensed us from the communion fast as most of us didn’t know about the mass but it was not until after the mass was over that Robert mentioned we had been part of a historic moment.

It was the 1st Catholic Mass ever celebrated at CPAC

It had never occurred to me that in all the decades that CPAC had been around that mass had never been celebrated. This was something that needed an interview and Fr. Lomborg graciously consented to do one on audio

As I headed back to the room, I considered how unlikely this all was.

I managed to attended the first mass ever at CPAC, celebrated by a priest who is regularly broadcast on our local EWTN station 89.3 WQPH Shirley/Fitchburg that I do volunteer media for and even scored an interview with the priest for the station.

Moreover I found the mass completely by accident, and the readings directly addressed all of my turmoil running though me exactly at the time when I most needed it.

Just about 14 hours ago Stacy & I had a back and forth with a 20-year-old man who was doubting the reliability of scripture and of his own faith. Perhaps the day will come when, at the time he most needs it, the tapestry that the Spirit weaves when be there to catch him as he’s ready to be crushed by the rocks as he falls and God will stretch out his hand saying “Do not be afraid”.

And he will be able to answer with the same feeling that I had going back to my room, my worries gone:

Jesus I trust in you!

Update: Linked at Canon212.com thanks


DaTechGuy at CPAC 2017 (all videos not blogged about yet here). Be aware that due to the sheer volume of videos to upload if I interviewed you it might be days before you see it here

2/25
Voices at CPAC 2017 Two Rons and a Patricia
Voices of the Cannoli deprived at CPAC 2017 Scottie Neil Hughes
Voices at CPAC 2017 Evan Sayet A Deplorable Mind before and after
DaTechguy Meets Students TBS & Fake news at Donald Trump’s CPAC 2017 Speech
Voices of CPAC 2017 Author Matt Margolis On DaTechGuy’s Midnight Court

2/24
Voices of CPAC 2017 Tom Wenzel of EWTN & Alberto Calamaro of Radio Maria
The Media Narrative Hunt at CPAC
Voices of CPAC 2017 Donald Trump Single lines from CPAC speech as he makes them
Voices of CPAC 2017 the Indefatigable Kira Innis

2/23
Voices of Cpac 2017 Steve & Shen, Ed Morrissey of Hotair and a Kellyanne Conway Cannoli Story
Voices of CPAC 2017 Radio Row Sharon Angle & Rick Trader Daria Novak & Frank Vernuccio
CPAC 2017 Photos & Brief videos from the Sean Hannity Taping

Voices at CPAC 2017 Advocates: Melissa of Able Americans, Matt of American Majority
Voices at CPAC 2017 Yvonne (from almost #NeverTrump to Evangelical Coordinator) & Michael
Voices of CPAC 2017 Joe on Life behind the Berlin Wall

2/22

Voices at CPAC 2017 Liz a Cook County Republican (and Kasich delegate)
CPAC 2017 First Interviews Theresa an Attendee and Rob Eno of Conservative Review

2/21
Some Quick pre-cpac video and thoughts

2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

There is plenty more from CPAC coming over the next couple of weeks, but what is also going to be coming are a lot of hospital bills and debt from work that both my wife and I are going to be missing because of this.

If you are able and inclined to help mitigate them I’d ask you to consider hitting DaTipJar




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If you are not in the position to hit DaTipJar We will be very happy to accept your prayers.

I had hoped to try to speak to Kellyanne Conway after her Hannity appearance concerning something with WQPH 89.3 FM but I had waited in the press scrum for a while when I decided I was wasting my time and continued with my interviews. At this time I came across Steve and Shen.

There were not fitting in the frame well so I decided to flip the camera and film then at a 90 degree angle and edit the video later.

At this point I was starting to run out of gas and decided it was perhaps time to sit a bit, I headed toward the entrance of the hotel and saw old friend Ed Morrissey of Hotair sitting there and Ed being Ed consented to an interview.

Ironically as the interview went on Kellyanne Conway walked by with a crew, I continued my interview but as soon as it was over I was off after her. I figured the odds were against catching up but decided it was worth a shot.

I headed back toward the press registration area and lo and behold there she was taking question from press. I headed down the escalator and got a shot.

Kellyanne and the press

As she finished and started heading up I was a few steps behind her, at this point I introduced myself as someone who works with WQPH and mentioned their scheduled pro-life events the weekend of Divine Mercy Sunday asking if the administration would have an interest in sending a representative.

Her assistant took my card, and she said she would need the information sent so I presume I will be hearing from them at this point she turned toward the speakers room and I offered her Cannoli, to my surprise she accepted and took one as she vanished through the door. (It turns out that would be significant the next day but that’s a much later post).

You might wonder why I didn’t try to go for a press question but the WQPH need was the priority and as she was speaking the next day I figured I’d have another shot but the fact that Kellyanne Conway had one of the 40 Cannoli I brought was an amusing fact that I’d be able to talk about for a while.

Too bad I didn’t get a chance to find out if she liked it.

DaTechGuy at CPAC 2017 (all videos not blogged about yet here)

2/23
Voices of CPAC 2017 Radio Row Sharon Angle & Rick Trader Daria Novak & Frank Vernuccio
CPAC 2017 Photos & Brief videos from the Sean Hannity Taping

Voices at CPAC 2017 Advocates: Melissa of Able Americans, Matt of American Majority
Voices at CPAC 2017 Yvonne (from almost #NeverTrump to Evangelical Coordinator) & Michael
Voices of CPAC 2017 Joe on Life behind the Berlin Wall

2/22

Voices at CPAC 2017 Liz a Cook County Republican (and Kasich delegate)
CPAC 2017 First Interviews Theresa an Attendee and Rob Eno of Conservative Review

2/21
Some Quick pre-cpac video and thoughts


2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

If you like the work I have done at CPAC and wish to support it (along with paying for the ER & Surgery bills for DaWife’s illness that our insurance doesn’t anymore (thanks Democrats and Obamacare!) please consider hitting DaTipJar




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I know this post is very VERY late but a lot has been going on and given my CPAC 2017 trip is in 10 days it’s a good preview of the type of interviews etc you might see.

St Bernard’s Abby

The next day we were up very VERY early as a new batch of pilgrims were due at St. Bernard’s monastery so we departed right after breakfast and said our goodbyes to the monks.  Our old bus driver was doing good as we headed back to Castle Miguel and Mother Angelica’s monastery.

As before I spent a majority of my time holding religious items, rosaries, medals etc, to Mother Angelica’s tomb and praying a hail mary. These would be given away to people by WQPH once we got back up north. While others took free time to visit other locations at the site.

Around noontime we were back on the bus for a special lunch, we were off to Stonebridge Farms which while primarily a wedding venue opens it’s restaurant which offers a gigantic buffet of southern food one day a week.

I interviewed one of the family members who work there

We spent quite a while there, with a party as large as ours it took some time. I took advantage of it setting up my laptop in a corner to charge my laptop and try to upload some of the stuff I shot while we were eating.

When we got back to Mother Angelica’s monastery we had more free time in the area, here is a quick overview of the area

the doors of the cloister
One of the things we got a glimpse of were the visitor rooms where the cloistered nuns on very rare occasions will receive visitors. basically there is a metal grille and seats on opposite sides one on the nuns side and one on the public side where people can see each other and speak.

Ceiling of the Priest’s retreat chapel
One of the things that was really impressive to me was the Priest’s retreat building. Normally a group like ourselves would not have access but our two priests were staying there and it was decided that we would have our daily mass in the chapel of the retreat building around 5 pm.

Our guide Micha who had led us through the Eucharistic Center talked about what he described as a “man cave for religious” a statement that was highly accurate

To say the altar was impressive is the understatement of the year

Priest’s retreat chapel

It was quite a place for a mass and to participate as the congregation for a mass in that location was

Rosary cupcakes
for me one of the highlights of the trip. When the mass was over we headed back to the main reception area at Casa Miguel where we were celebrating the birthday of our lady. (Because I needed to use the facilities I actually missed the bus and had to leg it back) there was a rosary made of cupcakes and a cake and we gathered together before a planned evening procession.

Grotto at night
The procession itself was to a grotto and prayer area behind the Eucharistic center. It became very much a candlelight procession as we didn’t get to it till after dark. This complicated things a bit as we had a lot of elderly people and the path was a bit hard for them at the end of a day. However we said our prayers and prayed our Rosary with Gusto

That ended the day, there had been alternative lodging for us who had been staying at St. Benedict’s abbey. I and a fellow member of my Knight’s of Columbus council ended up

One of the guest cabins
in the furnished basement of one of the guest cabins that one of the other pilgrims had rented right down the street from Casa Miguel. It is a very convenient place for pilgrims and one of the only times on such a trip that I didn’t sleep in a consecrated place. But Jeff was an interesting and excellent roommate and while I knew of him from council meetings we had a chance to talk and occasionally saw each other at daily mass we had the chance to actually get to chat before hitting the sack for our final half day before flying out.

Moira Noonan & Fr Denis interviewed by WQPH
Moira Noonan & Fr Denis interviewed by WQPH
On Sunday at the former Madonna of the Holy Rosary Church in Fitchburg WQPH sponsored Holy Mass and healing service with Catholic Evangelist, Author and international speaker Moira Newman and Fr. Denis Phaneuf of the Diocese of saskatoon Saskatchewan and an advisor on the Vatican consultation on Exorcism and Deliverance Ministry.

A fair sized crowd came and heard this gospel and sermon at the mass

And stayed for the healing service, heard them speak and bought the various books available.

When all was said and done I interviewed both Moira:

and Fr. Denis

Yesterday I spent the day in Leominster Massachusetts birthplace of Johnny Appleseed for their annual Johnny Appleseed fair manning the WQPH 89.3 FM Queen of Perpetual Help Shirley Fitchburg booth promoting Catholic radio for people and praying decades of the rosary on the spot for people’s intentions both online and in person.

At the festival I did a few interviews for WQPH. We talked to Adam Webber of the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network which provides help for homeless families.

If you want to donate to MIHN their website is here.

I also spoke to Brother Alexis who while from Fitchburg has spent the last 2 1/2 decades in Italy.

I’d also like to thank him for joining me in many of the rosary decades that I prayed for others.

ewtn-interviews-025Our next day started with breakfast at St Bernard’s monastery where Brother Christopher made our crew acquainted with the Benedictine Brew the Monastery’s coffee blend and then we were off to pick up our other pilgrims and run a few errands with our new Bus driver and headed for the EWTN studios in Irondale for our day there.

Benedictine Brew
Benedictine Brew
Benedictine Brew[/caption]

The Site of EWTN was the original location of Mother Angelica’s monastery before she built and moved to the Shrine of the most blessed sacrament in Hanceville. When we arrived Our day began with the Noon mass at the chapel (which is not televised) That is where I met Lucy who you might recognize if you watch the daily mass the short oriental lady who goes every day. It turned out her daughter lives in Fitchburg which was quite a coincidence. Several pilgrims from other groups were just as excited to meet her as the various EWTN celebs and priests and posed for a picture with her that I took for them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We had a late lunch in the small cafeteria area for pilgrims where we met Brother Leo of the “Hey Brother Leo” book series who sat for a brief interview

also on site was Jack Williams from EWTN Radio’s morning glory and open line who would be joining us on Fr. Pacwa’s show later that evening.

this was immediately followed by an hour long talk from Fr. Miguel on God’s calling. Here is a brief excerpt:

After our talk our group was divided into two groups, one went with Fr. Leo and the other with a woman named porta who sat for an interview later on Friday:

sets on wheels
sets on wheels
I was in Porta’s group and she led us thorough the EWTN studio’s where we would be going later in the evening for Fr. Pacwa’s show. A few of us took pictures on the set while it was empty.

She also showed up Mother Angelica’s office which had become a green room for guests.

Most of the various set backgrounds were on wheels so they could be quickly switched for one show to the other. Various other set backgrounds from shows no longer on the air were stored on site.

After that section we were taken to the technical area where the various technicians were located. I asked about hackers and they said while there were occasional attacks they had no luck getting in, of course being EWTN being a religious network the wasn’t a lot of incentive for the various financial hackers to target them.

the Caption Lady
the Caption Lady

As the tour continued I fell behind to talk to various workers who had been there or decades. Many had been surprised to find themselves at EWTN but it had really been a home to them.

When the tour was over we had dinner at EWTN again in the cafeteria area. While there I spoke to the oldest pilgrim in our group.

As well as Fr. Leonard Mary who had been in Fitchburg for a pilgrimage last year who remembered me (I told you the scarf comes in handy)

after dinner we had some free time to pray the liturgy of the hours, visit the blessed sacrament or get confession before the evening’s show.

Our group was the largest of those at EWTN but there were others from Texas and a few individuals who had also come to join us in the audience live.

Two Camera men were on opposite sides to take shots one focused on Fr. Pacwa and one to focus on his guest. Additionally there was one stationary camera set to catch the pair of them. A monitor on the side wall showed us which camera was feeding live at any given time.

The audience for the show
The audience for the show
Before the Show Fr. Pacwa came out in a cowboy hat and gave us some brief instructions or the live show remind us that if we were looking at the monitor rather than the show when the engineer turned to the audience we would be looking away. He joked once the video was available on DVD or online could watch the broadcast freeze the broadcast and look at ourselves on TV to our hearts content.

The show ran an hour, the first guest was Jack Williams who I had interviewed earlier who briefly talked about EWTN radio and plugged our station.

The Primary guest was Peter Williamson who has written a series of biblical commentaries

During the first break they asked who wanted to ask questions. We raised our hands they asked us what the questions were and then had us line up to the side. When our turn would come they signaled go to the mike and Fr would call on us when he was ready.

When he called on me they he asked jokingly if I had been told the EWTN studios were in Alaska rather than alabama because of the scarf.

When the show was over it turned out there was an issue with the initial into of Jack Williams so we watched as they re-recorded Fr. Mitch’s brief into of Jack for the broadcast, made slightly more complicated by him not being there so Fr. had to make sure that he faced toward where Jack was supposed to be.

When that was done Fr. Pacwa started taking pictures with people. that went on for long while. I took advantage of that time to interview his guest Peter Williamson

When I was done the pictures continued unabated. It was as if every single person there wanted a shot but despite the long day Fr. Pacwa did have a few minutes for me.

By this time it was really late so we piled on the bus and said our goodbyes and we headed back for the night, where we at the monastery packed as Wednesday would be our last night there and the next day would start early.

Castle San Miguel
Castle San Miguel
We left the abbey heading for Shirine of the most blessed sacrament, picking up our guest house people on the way.

There is a single entrance to the site down a country road filled with farmland horses and cattle grazing calmly nearby giving no clue as to what is to be found at the end of the road.

There were very few members of the group who had been to the shrine and the Castle that sits upon it but even so it remained an imposing sight as you approach it.

When you walk into the medieval style keep this is what you see

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Conference Room
this is the area used for conferences dining (items are catered and brought in). It also contains the rather large and very catholic gift shop full of coins, prayer cards and medals. As our catholic supply store in the Fitchburg area closed I loaded up on small bottles for holy water to be given out a few of which I filled from the taps connected to huge tanks of holy water kept in the nativity area next to the castle

For those who are not catholic be aware that all such items are just that items that can be bought and sold until blessed by a priest or deacon, once blessed they can NOT be sold either by a gift shop or by the person who had them blessed. No legit catholic gift shop will sell a blessed item.

The Courtyard
The Courtyard

We then filled into the conference room for a talk on the origins of Mother Angelica, her vocation and the Shrine of the most blessed sacrament. I set up a mic for the talk next to her podium so I caught all of her speech but in the Q & A you’ll only hear the “A” not the “Q”

When the talk was over we headed for mass at the lower chapel where Mother Angelica is buried. No photography is allowed there so naturally I have no images to show you. I was struck that not only was the Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated Ad Orientem but communion was received kneeling at the altar rail with an altar boy holding a salver under a chin, both of which I found very appealing.

Touring the Eucharistic Center
Touring the Eucharistic Center
After mass we had some time before our tour of the John Paul II Eucharistic Center we spent some time at the grave of Mother Angelica. We pressed rosaries against her grave that the station planned to give away and prayed a rosary for the person who would be receiving it.

A bit later we visited the Eucharistic Center. The last time I was there the young knights of the Holy Eucharist were the tour guides, but they had been transferred to Nebraska so a gentleman name Micah gave the tour.

When the Tour was over he took a few minutes to speak to me about his job.

The Vast Collection of Relics of Saints
The Vast Collection of Relics of Saints

When the tour was over and after a quick sandwich we had free time. I spent mine at Mother’s grave with several hundred rosaries saying a Hail Mary over each as I touched them to her grave.

Soon it was time to head back to St. Benedict Abbey where I visited and filmed the famous Grotto.

And interviewed Brother Christopher who gave us the history of brother Joseph

From there we were back to the cafeteria at St. Bernard Abbey where I interviewed one of the students who attended the school.

At St. Bernard Abbey
At St. Bernard Abbey
However at this point things took a turn for the worse. Our bus driver had been a tad under the weather on day one, by that evening he was in horrible pain. we had a pair of nurses on the trip who took a look at him and it was decided he needed to get to the local hospital. We had no way of getting him there. The Taxi services stopped running early, there was no Uber or Lyft and we failed to get ahold of the local parish or Knight of Columbus that we hoped to get a hand from. Eventually our driver drove to the hospital in his bus with our nurses with him while the rest of us took up a Rosary Circle. One of the Nurses takes up the story.

In the end our driver got the treatment he needed while a substitute driver arrived from Atlanta while he waited to be treated. Ironically our substitute had driven for our tour leader Maryann before and while our primary driver would have a day of rest we would be getting ready for our trip to the EWTN studio the next day.


If you like what you see here and want to help cover the costs from my Alabama trip which included the loss of a week’s pay please consider hitting DaTipjar. I promise not to pull a Hillary and keep charging you without your consent.




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I spoke to Fr. Mitch Pacwa after sitting in on his live show during my Trip to EWTN with the WQPH pilgrimage group.

The most important line? “If you don’t have time to pray they’ll be nothing” Now that’s a priest

I also interviewed his guest that day Author Peter Williamson who is writing commentaries of scripture:

The Show is here you might recognize the fellow in the scarf asking a question on air in at 35:50

Incidentally you also might recognize the room where I interviewed Fr Pacwa as Mother Angelica’s old office at EWTN where she was miraculously a couple of decades ago

If Mother Angelica is ever canonized that room would be full of 1st class relics (Things that were in physical contact with a saint). If that happens I guess I would technically become a 3rd class relic (Something that has been in contact with a 1st class relic).

I interviewed Brother Leo of the “Hey Brother Leo” series of Children’s books at EWTN

It’s important to remember that the Catholic faith is built on reason.

NOTE: You might have wondered what happened to this post. Due to a critical database error this post (originally posted Monday night) my scheduled lead post for Tuesday were both totally destoryed, not even a trace and my 2nd alabama trip post nearly so. That might sound bad but 2 hours earlies I had lost EVERY post from 2016 after Jan 16th so I’m going to count my blessings.

on the set ewtn
on the set ewtn
My Trip to Alabama came about not so much as planned as requested. WQPH panned a pilgrimage to Mother Angelica’s grave to commemorate the nativity of the blessed mother.

With money tight my plans were to give it a miss but Mary Ann Harold of WQPH needed someone to shoot audio and interviews and if you know MaryAnn you will know it’s impossible to say no to her when he is trying to win souls for the Lord. So through a combination of permission to get a week off from work a ride from my brother and an increase in credit card debt not normally encouraged in conservatives I found myself at Logan Airport at 2:45 AM on Monday morning.

airport decour
airport decour

Our group of 30 boarded our flight with Southwest on time (for the first time ever I was in the “A” group so I planted myself at the back of the plane meaning to get 45 minutes of sleep on the flight to Baltimore when the pilot announced that the plane had a fuel leak and we would be delayed as it was repaired and the required paperwork filled out. While this offered excellent opportunities for sleep it meant we might not make our connecting flight in Baltimore to Birmingham which would disrupt our entire schedule. This type of thing seems to happen a lot on our pilgrimages almost as if something objected to it.

Da pilgrimage bus
Da pilgrimage bus

Eventually while I slept the plane was repaired and all the paperwork filled out and when I woke up we were in the air preparing to land in Baltimore. We were very behind and I saw a lot of trouble getting our people and luggage to the next plane but Southwest gave us a hand, deciding to use our current plane for the flight to Birmingham which quite erased the time we lost for the repairs.

After a short wait we were greeted by the large bus to for the 28 of us toward our destinations. We were in two groups. One opted to get more private accommodations at guest houses rentable near Mother Angelica’s monistary

Of of several guest houses near the shrine of the most blessed sacrament.
One of several guest houses near the shrine of the most blessed sacrament.
where over the course of the year pilgrims who want a bit more privacy but quick access to the shrine stay. We also dropped off a pair of priests at a special retreat center for priests at the shrine. Clergy are allowed to stay there free of charge on retreat to help them recharge for their 24/7 vocation.
The retreat center
The retreat center

The rest of us continued to Cullman Alabama to St. Bernard Monastery and school were we had accommodates for three of the four nights of our stay. We were lucky to get that time as a group of deacons were coming to the St. Bernards for retreat that week but there were willing to shoehorn us in to help us out. Yet another of the little things that went right when things seemed ready to go wrong.

Brother Christopher
Brother Christopher
. The plan was for mass at the Monastery followed by dinner but even with the nap on the plane I needed to get a little shut eye but by the time I woke up mass was long over and I just made dinner at the cafeteria where the resident students (who had not arrived yet as it was labor day) normally eat
the chapel at St Bernard Abbey
the chapel at St Bernard Abbey

After dinner we all prepared to crash. In the retreat building there was plenty of religious art and old books. I found a 115 year old volume of Catholic classics and read some Aquinas as I went to bed. It was going to be a very full next couple of days.

The next morning I walked to the Abbey church figuring to catch morning mass, but it turned out the monks had their mass at 5 PM so instead I prayed my morning prayers before the blessed sacrament. Many of the monks were on retreat but I was able to get an interview with Fr Kevin McGrath who had been at the Abbey for almost my entire life and later with our bus driver who owned the company

Little did we know that the curves on the road would not be the only ones facing us and him.


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