My mom, Mrs. Elizabeth Trigilio, of Erie, Pennsylvania, met His Grace, Archbishop Pietro Sambi at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC (alias the Vatican Embassy). The Papal Nuncio was kind enough to give yours truly a personal blessing on the ocassion of my 20th anniversary of priesthood and assured me of his prayers for my two friends and co-authors (John Paul II for Dummies) Father Kenneth Brighenti (20 years) and Father Jay Toborowksy (10 years) as they celebrate their respective jubilees, too. My mother was given a private tour of the chapel where His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass and the gardens where he meditated during his recent visit to the U.S. capital. Following this spectacular display of Vatican hospitality, I celebrated the 5:15 pm Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, thanks to the kindness of Msgr. Walter Rossi.
My mom was unable to attend any of the papal Masses due to health concerns. She has been visiting me since the day before Mother's Day and I took her to EWTN where I celebrated my 20th anniversary proper (see previous post). Tomorrow, we head to New Jersey to celebrate the 20th Jubilee of my dear and best friend, Father Ken Brighenti, whose actual date is May 28th (two weeks after mine). Being able to spend time with my mom and my close friends has been a special blessing for which I cannot be more appreciative. Father Ken and I have been friends since 1983 (that's a quarter century for you number-crunching bean-counters). My dear mother buried three of her five children and then her loving husband of 39 years. My sister died at the age of three days; my younger brother Michael died from Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 26; my younger brother Joe was killed at the age 33 by an underage drunk driver; my Dad died from leukemia six months after my brother Joe. My youngest only surving brother, Mark, has leukemia, but Deo gratias, is currently in remission. All this happened before I celebrated ten years of priesthood. Then, in just the past two years, my mom buried three of her siblings, one after another. So this special audience with the Papal Nuncio meant the world to her and I am indebted to His Excellency Archbishop Sambi for being so cordial, hospitable and compassionate. A real gentleman with real class. My dad would have loved to have met him and I am only sorry that he and my brothers were not here to share in my celebration of priesthood anniversary.
Last week, we enjoyed a gourmet meal at Da Filippo's Autentica Cucina Italiana in Somerville, NJ. One of the finest restaurants in NJ or NY. Filippo and his wife prepared a gastronomic festival for me & mom and several wonderful guests (Fr. Brighenti & his sister Priscilla; Lou & Sandy Falconeri, & their son, Anthony; Jack & Christine Adragna; Drs. Keith & Christina Burkhart and their two sons, Kyle & Christopher, and their daughter, Karly.) Deo volente, we will all be around in 2013 for the Silver Jubilee celebration.