The Trust Mass for Easter 2018, and other liturgies, will be led by the ASCPG – which is HCPT’s US branch. Cardinal Dolan from New York will be celebrating the Trust Mass. Theme is “You are special” and is a link back to the last time the ASCPG took the lead in Lourdes in 2008, and those of us who were there met Steve McDonald, a member of the NYPD who was quadriplegic. Steve was shot by a teenager some 30 years ago. A bullet hit him in the left side of his neck, shattered into fragments and those fragments lodged in his spinal column. The shooter was 15. Steve found the compassion to forgive his shooter. Steve was the patron of ASCPG – he died in January this year. The theme “You are special” is taken from a poem Steve wrote. Won’t quote it all but this is the last verse:
You’re rare, and in all rarity there is enormous value.
You’re Special, and it is no accident you are.
Please realize that God made you for a special purpose.
God has a job for you to do that nobody else can do as well as you can.
Out of the billions of applicants, only one is qualified.
Only one has the unique and right combination of what it takes, and that one is you.
The presence of the American Group is a reminder of how wide the reach of HCPT is. Often, we can become fixated by our own Group but HCPT is a world-wide phenomenon. Some who will be in Lourdes will have travelled from far, but all of us, from wherever we come, have been called there by Our Lady. Our Lady’s call comes in many different ways. Someone invited us, or told us about the pilgrimage or even cajoled us, or we have always wanted to come to Lourdes. For some, that call forms the backdrop to their lives, and year after year they respond to her invitation and are drawn back to the mystery of the encounter of Our Lady and Bernadette. Whatever the reality, we have been called together to make pilgrimage to Lourdes. We have been called together because in Our Lady’s plan it is right for each of us. We are pilgrims!
Pilgrims leave home, journey together, make new friends, tell each other their own personal stories, and travel to a special and holy place. Once they arrive, they tell or listen to the story that belongs to that place. For us it is the story of Bernadette, the story of Our Lady and Lourdes. In answer to Our Lady’s invitation, we pray, we walk in procession, we are church, we wash in the water from the spring and we joyfully celebrate the joy: promise of new life in Christ.
A pilgrimage to Lourdes always makes a difference. Sometimes we know it right away, sometimes it only slowly dawns on us. This holy place chosen by Mary speaks of love, of acceptance of all, of the compassion of Jesus her son for all who suffer or feel abandoned. In our HCPT week we have the opportunity to share the gift of love in a very practical way. As we return home this is what we bring with us, the experience. This experience should help us see things in a different way. It should help us to live in a different way. It should remind us that we are special, not because of us, but because Our Lady has called us.
Above words by Fr. Tim Edgar, 2 October 2017
You can read all of Steve McDonald’s poem below:
You Are Very Special
In all the world there is nobody like you. Since the beginning of time, there has never been another person like you. Nobody has your smile, your eyes, your hands, your hair. Nobody owns your voice, your hand writing, your unique way of communicating with others. You’re Special.
Nobody can paint like you. Nobody has your taste for food, music, dance or art. Nobody in the world sees things as you do. In all time, there has never been anyone who laughs in exactly your way, and what makes youl augh or cry or think may have a totally different response in another. So, You’re Special.
You’re different from any other person who has ever lived in the history of the world. You are the only one in the whole world who has your particular set of abilities. There is always someone who is better at one thing or another. Every person is your superior in at least one way. But nobody in this world can reach the quality of the combination of your talents, your feelings. Through all eternity, no one will ever love, walk, talk, think or act exactly like you. Remember, You’re Special.
You’re rare, and in all rarity there is enormous value. You’re Special, and it is no accident you are. Please realize that God made you for a special purpose. God has a job for you to do that nobody else can do as well as you can. Out of the billions of applicants, only one is qualified. Only one has the unique and right combination of what it takes, and that one is you.
You Are Very Special!
Poem above by Steven McDonald, may he Rest in Peace: January 10, 2017