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Being Faithful Despite the Suffering

As the academic year comes to a close, many of us will be getting ready for our summer activities. For many of us, this includes the beach, the pool, the boardwalk, baseball games, and just relaxing with some good friends. The seminarians of the Diocese of Camden will have to hold up on these activities for a few weeks however. Through the generosity of Bishop Sullivan and benefactors, the Camden seminarians will be taking part in mission work at the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. Joining us will be Father Michael Romano, our vocation director, and Father Adam Cichoski, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Lindenwold, NJ.

While in Lourdes, the seminarians will help those who are need. Traditionally, Lourdes is known as a place of hope and healing. Our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in the 19th century. St. Bernadette was a 13 year old girl from a poor family, and she suffered from asthma, which at the times was very severe. During the apparitions, she endured many hardships between her health and those believing she was insane. Towards the end of the apparitions, Our Lady performed a miracle in which the muddy dried up grotto, where the apparitions took place, turned into a fresh clear spring with miraculous water. Those who went into the water were cured, and miracles still happen even today.

While there, we will be helping the sick at the baths of Lourdes, helping the sick on and off trains, and helping the sick in wheel chairs during the processions held every day in honor of Our Lord and Our Lady. This past semester, I thought it would be nice to prepare for this upcoming trip by reading up on the events that took place at Lourdes. One of the quotes that struck me was from St Bernadette. St. Bernadette said “O Jesus, I would rather die a thousand deaths than be unfaithful to you!” I believe this speaks to me and to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those discerning the call to the priesthood. Often times, we think about what is the purpose of our lives. I believe St. Bernadette says it beautifully. The purpose of our lives are to be faithful to Jesus Christ. In order to be faithful, we must be able to fully cooperate with God’s plan for us in our lives. As we can see in Scripture and in the lives of the saints, such as St. Bernadette, living God’s plan is not always easy. There are always good times and bad times, but we need to be faithful! St. Bernadette is a true example, especially considering she was only a 13 year old girl who had the town’s people accusing her of telling lies. Despite all of the suffering, Bernadette still realized the importance of hearing and responding to the Lord through Our Lady.

During our time in Lourdes, I ask you to pray for me and my brother seminarians and all those discerning the call. I can assure you of our prayers for you, the Church of Camden, during our time there. May the example of St. Bernadette shine in the hearts and minds of all those struggling to understand the will of God.

Thomas Piro

Thomas Piro

1st College
Thomas Piro attends The College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception at St. Andrew’s Hall, Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.
Thomas Piro

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