A holy trip to France offers hope to families of two local boys

| 21 Feb 2012 | 11:00

    MONROE-Michael McGoldrick is 2-1/2-years old. The Blooming Grove child has hypertonia caused by his premature birth. Daniel Mulvey, who lives in Chester, is 9 and has leukemia. These two young boys are about to embark on a holy trip, a trip that their families hope will cure them of their illnesses. Every year since 1973, the Knight of Columbus of Our Lady of Lourdes Council 5890 in Washingtonville has raised money to send children with disabilities and one of their parents to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. This year's pilgrimage will take place Sept. 11020. The total amount needed for the trip is $28,000. The money will be raised through the sale of raffle tickets and individual donations. "There is an incredible outpouring of love generated by the Lourdes program," said Frank Ferrigno, the program's chairman. The nine-day trip for the youths will include bus service to and from JFK airport, charter air service to Lourdes, France- hotels, meals, and activities. The Rev. Msg. Kevin Wallin tells the story of how the healing city of Lourdes came to be known today for its holy powers. "The religious story of Lourdes began February 11, 1858, when fourteen year-old, Bernadette Soubirous went to collect wood along the shores of the River Gave. Bernadette heard a noise and, looking up, saw a woman dressed in white and praying the rosary," he said. "Following that first apparition, Bernadette was to see her ‘beautiful Lady' 17 times more. However, it was not until the third appearance, that the lady finally spoke to Bernadette and asked her to come to the grotto every day for two weeks. In return, if Bernadette did as she was asked, the lady said that while she could not promise Bernadette happiness in this life, she could and would do so in the next. Bernadette followed the lady's direction and began to visit the grotto daily," Wallin said. "On one occasion, the lady instructed Bernadette to wash at the spring. There being no spring, Bernadette dug a small hole, and in the muddy water which appeared, washed herself. By the next day, an abundant spring of fresh water had begun to flow," he said. "During the 13th apparition, the lady finally identified herself by saying, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception.' This response inspired (her) parish priest to believe that Bernadette had, in fact, seen an apparition of the Blessed Mother. The wondrous spring uncovered by Bernadette was responsible for the first medically unexplainable cures at Lourdes. "Since then, many have been cured through the use of the special baths, which even today contain water from the still flowing miraculous spring," added Wallin, who was ordained in December 1984 and who, in 1995, was appointed as Vice-Chancellor and Director of Ministry for the Diocese of Bridgeport. Studies have shown that the water is pure and contains chlorides of soda, lime and magnesia, bicarbonates of lime and magnesia, silicates of lime and aluminum, oxide of iron, sulfate of soda, phosphate, and organic matter. Otherwise, it is believed to contain no therapeutic ingredients. The water is said to be capable of healing the sick. Of the many thousands of pilgrims who visit Lourdes every year, some claim to have been miraculously healed. It is estimated that the spring has produced 27,000 gallons of water each week since it first emerged during Bernadette's visions. Lourdes has about 5 million visitors each year, making it the world's most visited holy site. For Michael McGoldrick of Sacred Heart Church in Monroe and Daniel Mulvey of St. Columbia Church in Chester, Lourdes may hold the healing power and inspirational power they need to fight the diseases that they must live with on a daily basis. "Michael is the joy in our lives," said his parents, Donna and Michael Sr. "He is such a happy, loving, affectionate little boy. He loves to sing songs, and give kisses." "We, as Michael's parents, feel honored and blessed to have been chosen to make this pilgrimage to Lourdes.," the couple added. "Thank you and God Bless Frank Ferrigno, Chairman of the Lourdes Program, the members of the Knights of Columbus Council #5890 in Washingtonville, and all the children and their families who will be going on this pilgrimage to Lourdes." The Washingtonville Our Lady of Lourdes Council selected seven New York children to sponsor for the trip to Lourdes; the two local boys, Michael and Daniel, a New Paltz girl, two Middletown boys and two girls from Rockland County and Staten Island. Daniel Mulvey has undergone a bone marrow transplant, which has created additional side affects. He had been given 6 to 12 months to live. It has now been seven months and his mother, Maureen, said that her son is still alive "through Divine Intervention." "I have prayed to the Blessed Mother my whole life and feel she is the strongest woman ever to exist. For what she lived through watching her son Jesus go through his whole life is such an inspiration to me," she said. "I truly feel that it (trip to Lourdes) will bring healing to us. "Daniel said to me the other day that he wanted to die so he can go to heaven and thank God for taking care of him," the boy's mother added. "I was so taken back by his statement. For all he has been through, for so many years, Daniel's love for God is still so strong." If you would like to donate to the Lourdes Program: Checks may be written out to "K of C 5890 Lourdes Program" and mailed to: Knights of Columbus, Our Lady of Lourdes Council, 5890, P.O. Box 22, Washingtonville, New York 10992. For more information, call Frank Ferrigno at (845) 783-2822.