My mother has sought ways to maximize my time as her chauffeur. She suggested a few days after our drive to the Divine Mercy Shrine that we should visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island in Manorville in Suffolk County in eastern Long Island. This Marian shrine is staffed by the Montfort Missionaries. She had been there for a Legion of Mary seminar a few years ago.
I found the name of the shrine very appropriate because folks in NYC would label Nassau and Suffolk counties as “The Island” like “We’re going out to the Island.” There is a bit of irony when Brooklyn or Queens residents make that reference because they are already on the island that they’re talking about. (Doubt me. Look at a map of Long Island.)
This time, none of my mother’s friends could join us. The two of us left about 8:30 a.m. on July 10. The hour and a half drive was smooth except for the end. The navigation system in my mother’s car assumed turns that I couldn’t make. In the end, I relied on the old method of looking at street signs to find the shrine.
We arrived about a few hours before Mass. I wandered around and snapped pictures along the Avenue of Saints and The Rock, the outdoor shrine. I meditated and prayed in the cozy Blessed Sacrament Chapel before heading to the Mass.
The 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass is usually celebrated on the Rock depending on the weather. The night before, I was worried that the rain would force the Mass inside. I had asked for Mary’s intercession for an outside Mass. The sun was out with a mix of clouds. But the Mass still was held in the Pilgrim Hall. The door to the hall was designated as a Holy Door for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. That doubles my tally of entering Holy Doors to two.
Father Roy Tyrdik, SMM celebrated the Mass. Father Hugh Gillespie, SMM gave a powerful homily on the parable of the Good Samaritan. He weaved together the tragedies of the police shootings and the resulting anger in the Dallas sniper attack this past week with the call to bring mercy to those hurt and scarred in the travails of life. He said that we can bring mercy because we have been taken care of our own wounds by Jesus (i.e., the Good Samaritan) at the inn (i.e., the Church).
After lunch, my mother and I checked out the gift shop. I bought a few postcards. She suggested going to the Tanger Outlets in nearby Riverhead. We checked out a few shops among the dozens spread out across the site. I was almost tempted to buy a Guess messenger bag, but the color wasn’t right. I did pick a few T-shirts at Levi’s to replace my tattered old ones.
Overall, it was a pleasant day trip. My mother said she would like to attend Mass at the shrine monthly if there was someone to drive her there. I myself would like to return and explore more of the grounds.