On Friday, June 14, 2019, my mother and I went an hour north of New York to the Marian Shrine in Stony Point, NY. The Salesian Fathers staff the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians and the Don Bosco Retreat Center.
Avoiding the morning rush, I retraced the route my father had taken when he dropped me off at high school. I had a vague memory of it. My sister Liza had reminded me of a crucial left-right combo at a major street. It was all coming back to me. But one can’t avoid all the traffic, especially at the Whitestone Bridge. The route outside the city to the shrine followed major highways.
The 148-acre property was dotted with many shrines and path. One can make a day of recollection by praying in the church or wandering around the grounds. I could have stayed all day. At Mass, the Salesian priest addressed the current scandals in the Church by reflecting on Bishop Robert Barron’s book Letter to a Suffering Church and that day’s first reading of 2 Cor 4:7: “We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” It was so inspiring that I had chills in the pew.
Just a heads up, the gift shop is a quarter mile from the church. Be prepared to walk. My mother and I took the car to the shop. A woman at the gift shop was helpful when my mother was looking for a wedding anniversary gift.
By midafternoon, we arrived in New York. My mother leveraged my willingness to drive to do a few errands (store, haircut). It’s amazing how much things can be accomplished in a day. Thank you, Jesus.