New journeys always takes a person for thrilling surprises! These past two weeks, I have acclimated myself to my new ministry as Director of Religious Education at Saint Joseph Parish in Lincoln. It is an enormous program, filled with enthusiastic teachers who help with the mission of the Church … and to them I am very grateful. When I first arrived I noticed a particular statue of the Virgin Mary that caught my attention. It is the image of Our Lady of Manaoag. She is the patroness of my mother’s home town in the Philippines. I was comforted by seeing this image as I made my way to my new assignment. As I did a little arranging in the office, I moved her to my desk. It’s a way of connecting with my family and the Virgin.
It also gave hint to a new adventure that is before me these next two weeks. I will travel to Asia for the first time and hope to visit this shrine which my mother grew up as a child. But it doesn’t stop there. On February 17, 2015 the Holy Father declared this holy place in my mother’s hometown — minor basilica. It enjoys the protection of the Supreme Pontiff and it is now on the Catholic International Radar as a place of pilgrimage! So going here will not only be a way of affectionately connecting with my mom’s roots, but also connecting with the Bishop of Rome. That’s pretty awesome!