Holy Hill: Basil­ica and Na­tional Shrine

Mindanao Times - - OPINION -

ILLINOIS, USA – When Boss Wil­lie chal­lenged me in his mes­sage dur­ing my diamond year cel­e­bra­tion on Jan­uary

17, 2016 to “con­tinue writ­ing un­til you reached 90,” I just laughed but in my mind, im­posi­bleng mang­yari!

Be­cause af­ter my com­pul­sory re­tire­ment as GM of the TIMES Corp. in 2000, I asked HIM “to please Lord ex­tend to me five years more to live.” HE not only gave me what I asked of HIM. HE has given me more years!

The Lord heard the wish of the Boss for me for I am now short of 12 years to be­come 90.

And this could be a wish that may come true af­ter my daugh­ter Tala and I vis­ited the Holy Hill Basil­ica and Na­tional Shrine of Mary Help of Chris­tians in south­east­ern Wis­con­sin, USA on Fri­day.

Holy Hill’s 435 acres of peace and beauty are lo­cated in the heart of the Ket­tle Mo­raine, crossed by Wis­con­sin’s Ice Age Trail, about 2-hour drive from my place in Volo, Illinois.

Each year, hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple from all over the world visit Holy Hill which sits atop the high­est peak in south­east­ern Wis­con­sin, pro­vid­ing a scenic panorama in every di­rec­tion.

Peo­ple come to Holy Hill to ad­mire the beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­ture, for med­i­ta­tion or prayer, or sim­ply to en­joy the quiet, peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment.

In be­tween the 45-minute Mass of­fi­ci­ated by Fr. Don Brick in­side the Neo-Ro­manesque style church com­pleted in 1931, I kept on talk­ing to HIM, ask­ing why HE let me reached this age when I only asked of him just for only a few more years af­ter 60?

I didn’t re­ceive any an­swer, but when I am about to re­ceive the Host to­gether with oth­ers and looked at the cru­ci­fied naked fig­ure of HIM in the cross at the al­tar, I read in HIS eyes the an­swer to my ques­tion “Son, you’re al­ready on my side, with my Fa­ther. But we let go of you to con­tinue your life on earth be­cause I love you!”

-o0oSince I ar­rived here on April 20, I only have one mu­sic ra­dio sta­tion that caters to my capri­cho for standard songs. By just lis­ten­ing to my fa­vorite songs of yesteryear­s- the 50s, 60s, 70s, and the 80s sim­i­lar to UMBN Retro 95.5 play­ing oldies to its thou­sands of lis­ten­ers down there-the feel­ings of iso­la­tion, anx­i­ety over sep­a­ra­tion from friends and fam­ily and home­sick­ness usu­ally ex­pe­ri­ence by those ad­just­ing to a new en­vi­ron­ment, tem­po­rar­ily helps re­lieve from all this new cul­tural adap­ta­tion.

While I feel at home here as I am liv­ing with my daugh­ter who is do­ing ev­ery­thing to make my stay mean­ing­ful and that the real in­ten­tion of my com­ing is al­most ac­com­plished, ad­mit­tedly, there are also times when mem­o­ries of hard­ships and chal­lenges to sur­vive and long­ing for loved ones and friends from where I came from also keep on com­ing back. But with “Pan­dora”, one of well-lis­tened mu­sic ra­dio sta­tions here, the last three months has so far been heaven to me.

By just open­ing the 75-inch television set in the re­ceiv­ing room and ut­ter­ing the name “Pan­dora” ei­ther the live-recorded con­certs of my fa­vorite bal­ladeers of all times or their record­ings al­ready make my day.

Frank Si­na­tra’s ap­pear­ance in the Royal Grand Con­cert in Lon­don in 1983 hosted by Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monacco, the for­mer Hol­ly­wood ac­tress was once Si­na­tra’s lead­ing lady in the movie “High So­ci­ety”, is what I’ve con­sid­ered the best con­cert ever I saw on television.

The le­gendary singer, ac­tor and show busi­ness icon Frank Si­na­tra who was born on De­cem­ber 12, 1915 in Hobocken, New Jer­sey and only child of Si­cil­ian im­mi­grants, died May 14, 1998 in Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia, USA.

-o0oAny­time this week, the US Ci­ti­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices (USCIS) may act on my re­quest to leave and stay for 300 days in the Philip­pines.

I have to se­cure a re-en­try per­mit to the US to prove my in­ten­tion not to vi­o­late my per­ma­nent res­i­dency here and af­fect my ci­ti­zen­ship ap­pli­ca­tion if I so de­sire.

Ideally, USCIS al­lows six months (min­i­mum) for a con­di­tion­ally per­ma­nent res­i­dent to travel out­side of the coun­try. Or, stays in the Philip­pines a year or more if I may have a rea­son­able rea­son why I will make the trip.

Any­way, I am hop­ing that USCIS will pos­i­tively act on my re­quest as at this age, I am only for the ben­e­fit of my chil­dren and the best for my two coun­tries.

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