Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 2 - Concelebrating with Pope Francis and peaceful Assisi

Greetings at the end of Day 2 of this Roman Pilgrimage.

Today began with an early morning Mass in Rome with the Holy Father, and is concluding after a most delicious dinner in Assisi.

At 6:30 a.m., I walked to the gate of the Domus Sanctae Marthae to join with those who were waiting to be admitted for the 7:00 a.m. morning Mass with the Holy Father.  Every day since his election a little more than two years ago, Pope Francis celebrates the 7:00 a.m. morning Mass in the Chapel of the Domus, and besides members of the Papal Household, a few people are given permission to join in that daily celebration of the Eucharist; today I was given the great privilege to be one of those select few. Along with several Cardinals who had come for the periodic meeting of the special Committee of Cardinals who advise the Holy Father and about 15 priests, I was allowed to concelebrate with Pope Francis. The Mass, led by our Holy Father as the principal celebrant and homilist, was very simple, reverent and special. After the Mass, and after the Holy Father's extended time of prayerful thanksgiving, he personally greeted everyone in attendance. I happened to be the first to greet him, and I extended to him the prayers and best wishes of the priests and lay faithful of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, and assured him of our prayers for him every day. It was an amazing and very memorable spiritual experience for me to be able to concelebrate the Eucharist with the Holy Father and to personally shake and kiss his hand as well as to give him personal greetings.

Following the Mass, I met Fr. Ted and my family members for a train ride to the most peaceful city in the world, Assisi. We enjoyed walking the streets, visiting and celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Clare, and enjoying some delicious food. Tomorrow we will visit the Basilica of St. Francis.

In the Gospel for today's Mass, Jesus and Nicodemus were having a very intense discussion about how one finds eternal life. Jesus told us that it is through Baptism into Him that we find the only way to that eternal life that we all seek and long for. While Assisi IS very peaceful, and there is truly a spirit of peace here that can't be found anywhere else, it is still not the peace that Jesus offers us and that we find in Him. Through the intercession of St. Francis and St. Clare, may we work for peace and justice in this world, and long for the eternal peace that Jesus promises us, which we can experience in the celebration of the Eucharist, but which we will only come to know in a true and lasting way when we pass from this life in the eternal peace of Heaven.

No comments:

Post a Comment