Saturday, November 5 marked a historic moment in the history of Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Approximately 1000 Latinos gathered to celebrate family and anticipate the feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
In recent decades it has been rare that the Shrine has been filled to capacity… and then some. Not only was every pew jammed full and the choir loft brimming. People were standing in all the aisles – middle, left and center – and also in the area of the two side altars. And, there was an overflow crowd in the basement of the shrine watching the celebration on closed circuit television.
Not only was the language of the liturgy Spanish but a wonderful Mariachi group brought out the best in the participation of those in attendance. Festivities began with a procession from the parking lot, around the block and in through the Holy Door. Bishop Alfonso Cabezas celebrated the liturgy and preached simply but movingly. The two-hour liturgy did not seem like two hours. A number of Spanish-speaking confreres were kept busy for over 4 hours as they heard the confessions of those who had gathered for this magnificent celebration!
The celebration continued under tents in the grove next to the Shrine. The group from Norristown provided all the food. I have not heard how many baskets of fragments were collected after. But no one went hungry!
Assisted by someone doing simultaneous translation Mary Ann Dantuono, President of the Ladies of Charity USA, was invited to speak to the group about the Ladies of Charity who are celebrating their 400th Anniversary of their founding by St. Vincent.
As if by a miracle all was cleaned up before the last car or bus from New York and New Jersey departed!
For those who may not know the history, all this took place in a grove where stands an oak tree with a small sign attesting that it grew from a seed planted in 1904 from the oak tree in Vincent’s birthplace.
On November 5, 2017 not only did the Latino community mark a new phase in the history of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal but, perhaps also the rebirth of the Ladies of Charity in Philadelphia.
Stay tuned for a more official report and gallery of pictures and video!