“I received many miracles and graces…” are the heartfelt words alumnus Michael F. Marcon, MAPS ’13, used to describe his experience in a thank you note after his recent President’s Summer Travel 2022 trip to France and Germany.
“God graced us with many blessings during this pilgrimage,” he said. “I cannot even begin to count the treasures and miracles made present to us. A pilgrimage is a journey to bring us closer to our Lord, and pilgrimages open our hearts, eyes and ears to experience Christ in a completely new way.”
Marcon, who earned a Master’s in Pastoral Studies, and his wife Angela traveled with 25 other University of St. Thomas pilgrims, led by President Richard Ludwick and First Lady Melynda, on July 1-14. The group experienced a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual journey to sites of sacred significance, architecture and history. Fr. Dempsey Rosales-Acosta journeyed with the group as their spiritual guide.
The pilgrims first experienced France, then parts of Germany: Munich, Hohenschwangau and Oberammergau.
Highlights of the trip for Marcon included their stop in Lourdes and witnessing the 42nd Passion Play in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau. The village’s Passion play is a large production that tells the story of the passion of Jesus, from his visit to Jerusalem to his crucifixion. These performances fulfill a promise by the 17th-century Oberammergau villagers insofar as no one was to die of the plague anymore. The famed theatrical tradition began in 1634 and only performs every 10 years.
Miracles and graces for Marcon also included, “Our pre-trip to Normandy, visiting the Mount of Martyrs, the Little Flower and her parents, the cathedrals and churches, and, most notably, the Masses. Of key importance was the little visitor who joined us in Lourdes. Her eyes gazed upon fellow traveler Adrienne (Kiki) Carroll, and she reassured her that her mom was present. In addition, we received the healing graces at Lourdes and brought home the water to those in need, including my mother and father.”