The moment my plane touched ground in Philly, my eyes opened up to a whole new reality. It was the first time moving out of my home city of Chicago. I did not know what to expect of this new experience. I came in with the mentality of “Expect nothing, and you will enjoy everything”. My first mission was to find Fr. Michael. We had arranged for him to pick me up at the airport. I had never seen him before, all I had to reference him with was an old picture of him on the FVM website. I realised this was not going to help as everyone at the airport was masked up. When I arrived at the baggage area, there was a tall slim old man with suspenders holding a newspaper, just standing there.

 I approached him and asked ”Fr Michael?” His blue eyes glowed as he replied,” Welcome Dan” My first response was to give this guy a hug. I am not really a hugger but I was really looking to be comforted to know that I had arrived at a new home with a new family. With each of my new housemates arriving I gave them all a hug because I also wanted them to feel at home. People might imagine moving in with complete strangers might be scary and awkward, but when you know that each one of them knows the love of Christ all those fears go away. 

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love cast out fear,” 1 John 4:18

Dan Mercardo, Philly FVM ’21-’22