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A Jesuit, a Franciscan, and a Dominican walk into a auditorium…

No really. All joking aside, this evening Avery Cardinal Dulles presented the keynote address at the Divine Immpassability Conference which is being held, this weekend, at Providence College.

Following an introduction to the address by Fr. Brian Shanley, O.P., the president of Providence College, and an introduction by Dr. Gary Culpepper, the Director of the Graduate Studies Program at Providence College and a former student of Cardinal Dulles, Cardinal Dulles himself took the podium.

Avery Cardinal Dulles

At 88 years old, Cardinal Dulles delivered his keynote address entitled, Divine Providence and the Mystery of Human Suffering to a packed hall. It was literally standing room

The respondent to Cardinal Dulles’ speech was Fr. Thomas Weinandy, OFM, Cap., the executive director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Because of parish responsibilities I am unable to attend the other lectures. They all sound to be very interesting and I regret that I will be absent. Only a group of academics would schedule a major conference on the weekend of Palm Sunday.
While I enjoyed the lecture, I did not really learn anything new.

Cardinal Dulles then talked about how the view of suffering developed in Scripture. Particularly in the books of Habakkuk, Jeremiah and Job.
Habakkuk – Suffering is punishment for the sins of the nation.
Jeremiah – Suffering is only punishment for personal sin.
Job – Suffering is not necessarily the result of sin. (God permitted Job to suffer in order for Job to demonstrate his fidelity and grow in faith) When God permits adversity he does so for good reason, although we may not be aware of that reason.

Cardinal Dulles then talked about how the view of suffering in Scripture prepared people to recieve Christ.
Daniel – The young men who died in the fiery furnace were assured their suffering would result in their attaining eternal life. (The death of the righteous as a transition into heaven).
The Psalms – The Suffering Servant Psalms describe vicarious expiatory suffering. (Christ’s suffering cleansed us from our sins and we can unite our own suffering to his). In the cross, Jesus takes on our infirmaties, diseases and sufferings and in a way becomes the new Job.

Cardinal Dulles explained that the suffering of Christ has four main results:
Jesus expiates the sins of the world
Jesus gives us an example of suffering
The Paschal Mystery shows that suffering in the world is nothing compared to the glory which we will attain in Heaven.
Christians can unite their personal suffering to Christ’s for redemptive purposes.

One part of the lecture that I think surprised some people was when Cardinal Dulles spoke about Rabbi Kushner’s popular book “Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People”. Cardinal Dulles said that Rabbi Kushner wrote that God is not all powerful. He is a victim of evil and suffers because of it.

Cardinal Dulles asserted that that opinion “is not an option for Catholics”. We must believe that God is all-powerful, all knowing, all good, all wise, and all perfect.

Speaking of natural evil, Cardinal Dulles said that particular evils are allowed because the order of the world is a greater good. God works according to the natural order. For example, “If death did not exist, the world would become overpopulated.”

He described pain as being useful for making us avoid harmful things and to alert us to injury or illness. However, he said that pain is not always useful and for that reason the invention of painkillers can be viewed as a sign of God’s providential care.

He said that the handicapped and those who suffer physical disabilities or pain provide an opportunity for compassion, care, and heroism.

He also said that while we believe that natural evil is a result of original sin, the suffering of Christ shows us that suffering is not necessarily related to sin and can lead us to heaven.

Cardinal Dulles said that Moral evil exists because God allows the human will to be free. “We can choose to serve God or not to serve God….Failure is not attributable to God, but to the creature alone.” God could intervene, but ordinarily He does not. He allows the natural order to take it’s course. If he always intervened to prevent good people from suffering, human responsibility would be decreased.

Cardinal Dulles ended his address with the reminder that all this is comforting to one who is not suffering, but that telling these things to one who is suffering will not necessarily comfort them. What will comfort them, he said, is our compassion, caring, and understanding.

Fr. Thomas Weinandy, OFM, Cap

Fr. Weinandy responded by aggreeing with and expanding on what Cardinal Dulles said.

He said that God must always be almighty because if we do not believe He is almighty, we cannot believe He is all good, all kind, all wise, and all just. Those attributes are dependent on Him being almighty.
“God exists in a different ontological order” he said. Unlike people, God never becomes more of what he is. “God is pure act in perfection”.

Because God cannot reside in created order, “evil and suffering cannot wash back into God and cause him to suffer”. However, God can act in time and history.

In Exodus, God frees the Israelites from slavery and as a result allows them to achieve a greater relationship with Him. This relationshipis different from His relationship with all other peoples and is possible because God acted in time.

The human acts of Jesus also bring about things that would not have been possible otherwise because He acts as the Son of God.

Fr. Weindandy said, “Because of Jesus Christ, we can relate to God in the fullness of His goodness. Because of our relationship with God, who is sinless and all powerful, we have hope that evil can be conquered. This hope will come to fulfillment when Jesus comes in glory”.

It is the actions of the transcendent God that allows us to share eternal life.

The speeches were followed by a question and answer period.

Two of the most interesting questions were directed toward Cardinal Dulles.

One question was whether people would still die even if original sin did not exist?
Cardinal Dulles seemed to hesitate before answering, but he concluded that people would indeed die because of the problem of overpopulation, but that death would be completely painless and peaceful.

Another inevitable question was about the war in Iraq. Cardinal Dulles was asked, “What does the Lord want citizens to do if a nation is waging an unjust war”?
Cardinal Dulles, speaking like the son of a Secretary of State that he is, seemed to sense that this was an attempt to trap him. He said that there is a responsibility to not participate, but that is impossible because every action indirectly supports it. Therefore people have a responsibility to not participate directly. He also suggested that people not be forced to participate directly and that conciencious objector status be given. However, he added that people have a responsability to determin whether the war is really just or unjust and not simply go on a whim.

The questioner then challenged Cardinal Dulles saying, “More than 50% of the American public believes the war in Iraq is unjust”.

Cardinal Dulles repeated that it is up to the individual to determine whether a war is just or unjust.

He was again challenged, “Ok, so what do those individuals to believe the war is unjust have to do”.

Cardinal Dulles advised those who think the war is unjust to try to affect policy, participate in the election of candidates, write letters to newspapers, and even protest.

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Yesterday evening in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope presided at a penitential celebration with thousands of young people from the diocese of Rome in preparation for the forthcoming World Youth Day. The Day is due to be held on Palm Sunday, April 1, on the theme: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

“The heart of all mankind … thirsts for love,” said the Holy Father in his homily. “Christians, even more so, cannot live without love. Indeed, if they do not find true love they cannot even call themselves fully Christian because, … ‘being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.’

“God’s love for us,” he added, “which began with the creation, became visible in the mystery of the Cross. … A crucified love that does not stop at the outrage of Good Friday but culminates in the joy of the Resurrection … and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love by which, this evening too, sins will be remitted and forgiveness and peace granted.”

This divine love “may be described with the term ‘agape,’ in other words ‘the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other,’ but also with the term ‘eros'” because “it is also a love in which the heart of the Almighty awaits the ‘yes’ of His creatures.” And “in the sacrifice of the Cross, God continues to present His love … coming ‘to beg’ the love of His creatures.”

“With Baptism you were born to new life by virtue of the grace of God. However, since this new life has not suppressed the weakness of human nature, … you are given the opportunity to use the Sacrament of Confession. … And thus you experience the forgiveness of sins; reconciliation with the Church; the recovery, if lost, of the state of grace; … peace and serenity of conscience and the consolation of the spirit; and an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian struggle.”

Christ “hopes we will allow ourselves to be attracted by His love and feel all its greatness and beauty, but this is not enough. Christ attracts us to Him in order to unite Himself to each one of us, so that, in our turn, we learn to love our brothers and sisters with His same love.”

“As you leave this celebration, with your hearts full of the experience of God’s love, be prepared ‘to dare’ to love in your families, in your dealings with your friends and even with those who have offended you. Be prepared to bear a truly Christian witness” in all environments.

Benedict XVI called upon newly-engaged couples to experience the period of their engagement “in the true love which always involves mutual, chaste and responsible respect. And should the Lord call some of you, dear young people of Rome, to a life of special consecration, be ready to answer with a generous and uncompromising ‘yes’.”

“Dear young people, the world awaits your contribution for the building of the ‘civilization of love.’ … Do not become discouraged and always have faith in Christ and in the Church.”

Following the liturgy the Pope put on a purple stole and entered the confessional to administer the Sacrament of Penance to six young people. Fifty-five priests joined him in administering the Sacrament to others present in the Vatican Basilica.

VIS

Yesterday, I was speaking with several of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia. The motherhouse of the congregation is located in Nashville, TN, but there are several sisters who work at St. Pius V school in Providence. Some of them are also students at Providence College. They are often seen on campus and at morning prayer and Mass.

Most of the sisters are young, and it is wonderful to see them. Their presence provides a wonderful witness for the students both at the parochial school and the college.
Please remember them in your prayers, and if possible, financially as well. They are currently in the process of renovating and expanding the motherhouse to repair damage and make room for more new sisters.
Photo from the website of the Dominicans of St. Cecilia.

After the reception at the PNAC, we returned to St. Peter’s Square to attend the reception at the Apostolic Palace. The line was long, but the Vatican Police called us foward to take the place of two people who had left the line. This allowed us to be one of the first 300 to enter the palace. After waiting for about an hour, the bronze doors were opened and we entered the palace.

As walked up the Scala Regia (Royal Stairs) I thought with each step, “I’m here. I am in the Pope’s house”. The Scala Regia is a marvel because it wider at the bottom than at the top but it cannot be noticed. The difference in with gives the visitor the feeling that the staircase is longer than it actually it. Some people believe it was designed this way in order to intimidate people who were visiting the Pope. I don’t know if it ever worked on heads of state, but it worked on me.

First View of the Sala Regia

When we reached the top of the Scala Regia, we entered the Sala Regia (Royal Hall). Cardinals O’Malley and Levada were greeting people in this room. The room is absolutely beautiful and the walls are covered with murals depicting various great events in Papal history.

Cardinal O’Malley greeting guests in the Sala Regia

Since we had already greeted Cardinal O’Malley and Cardinal Levada, we decided to bypass them and go to the Sala Pontificale, where Cardinal Dziwisz was greeting people. While that seemed like a good idea in theory, in reality was was a horrible idea. Even though we got there early, there were already so many people that the room was packed. I was surprised because all the other rooms were very empty. We did get into the room and waited nearly an hour before we gave.
The people waiting for Cardinal Dziwisz were by far the most exuberant group. They were singing and many people were carrying bouquets of flowers.

Unfortunately, because we spent so much time there, by the time we left the room, the rest of the palace was crowded. Because of that the number of pictures I could take was very limited. We should have enjoyed the empty rooms while we had the chance.

The Sala Ducale

We returned to the Sala Regia and looked at the many murals on the walls. The Sala Regia leads to the Sala Ducale. The Sala Ducale is a long and somewhat narrow room with a beautiful floor and very nice angels on the ceiling. Cardinals Montezomolo, and Vallini shared the large hall.

We returned to the Sala Ducale where Cardinal Montezomolo was being mostly ignored by the crowd in the room. I suspect that most of the people there had no clue who he was. Cardinal Montezomolo was Apostolic Nuncio many countries inculding Italy, Israel and Honduras. He is now the archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls and was also the artist who created Pope Benedict’s coat of arms. We decided to approach Cardinal Montezomolo who was very nice. I was surprised by how well he speaks English. Then we went to see Cardinal Vallini, who was on the other side of the room.

The Sala Ducale overlooks St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica. The view was beautiful. From there, I could see the many pilgrims walking around the square and the long lines of people waiting to enter the basilica.

From the Sala Ducale, we went to the Sala Paramenti. These two rooms, which are where the Holy Father vests prior to celebrating Mass at the Sistine Chapel, were occupied by Cardinal Caffarra and Cardinal Rode. The rooms were much too small for the large number of people there, so we were not able to really get in them. What I was able to see of the rooms was beautiful. The walls in the Sala Paramenti are covered with gorgeous tapestries.

We returned to the Sala Ducale and went up a few stairs to the Loggia di Giovanni da Udine. This long corridor overlooks the Cortile di San Damaso.

The ceiling of the Loggia of Giovanni da Udine

The view from the Loggia of Giovanni da Udine into the Cortile di San Damaso. The door you see is the entrance the Holy Father uses.

Ceiling of the Sala Pontificale

The crowd waiting for Cardinal Dziwisz

H/T to Brian who unfortunate enough to work in this town. Whereas, I’m few minutes across the border.

From the Catholic League:

William Rearick, Schools Superintendent of the Tiverton Public Schools in Rhode Island, has banned the Easter Bunny from appearing at a fundraising event tomorrow at the Tiverton Middle School. He has also banned the word “Easter” from all school events. He told the Providence Journal that during the last year and a half, he has become “more aware of folks who don’t have a Christian background.” Taking the place of the Easter Bunny will be Peter Rabbit; children will be able to get their picture taken with him.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented on this today:

“I am astonished that Schools Superintendent Rearick only recently discovered Jews and Muslims. But better late than never. However, it was not a Jew or a Muslim who complained about the Easter Bunny—it was an ex-Catholic, Michael Burk; he is vice chairman of the school committee. No matter, I have news for Superintendent Rearick: he has not resolved the problem.

“It is unconscionable that in this day and age Superintendent Rearick would choose to honor a thief. As every schoolchild knows, Peter Rabbit stole from Mr. McGregor’s garden. To now hold him up as a role model to impressionable youngsters sends the wrong signal. At the very least, grief counselors should be dispatched to tomorrow’s event.

“There is also a more serious matter going on. The event smacks of sexism: Peter Rabbit had three sisters—Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail—and there is no historical record of them ever having committed a crime. So why were they passed over? Looks like the glass ceiling is still in place.

“We urge everyone to register their outrage by contacting Superintendent Rearick at wrearick@tivertonschools.org. Tell him to bring the Easter Bunny back as only ex-Catholics are likely to be offended.”

Clericus Cup update:

Last Saturday, the Pontifical North American College soccer team defeated the Tiberino College 3-1. This is the 3rd win for the PNAC out of 4 games.

Go PNAC!

Let me state for the record that I hate clowns. I am not afraid of them, I just can’t stand them. Ok, I said it.

What is more horrific than clowns? Clown Stations of the Cross! Not quite as bad as clown Masses, but pretty close.

h/t to Argent and Brian.

From the Evangelist:

Twenty years ago, a few clowns decided to change from making people laugh to making them cry.

With the help of a transitional deacon who had been nurturing the idea of a clown ministry, “The Way of the Cross in the Company of Clowns” was born.

They perform around the Albany Diocese only during Lent, with a poignant look at the passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus, and during Advent, when they celebrate the birth of Jesus.

First tries
“People loved it,” Jack Ablett said of the early performances. He and his wife Rita are among the original founders of the ministry at St. Patrick’s parish in Ravena.

“The initial [three] clowns had all trained at Hudson Valley Community College,” in Troy, she explained. “Coincidentally, they were all parishioners at St. Patrick’s. They had been talking about using their clowning talents in some kind of ministry. At that time, we had a transitional deacon at our parish, and he had written a script for the Way of the Cross with clowns as the participants.”

The little troupe began their ministry in their own parish; within a few years, however, they were filling requests to perform in nearby parishes.

Changes
Over the years, the ministry has revised the script, added music and lighting, included mimes, and expanded the number of clowns, who range from children to senior citizens.

Initially, the group performed only on Friday evenings during Lent, the traditional day for Stations of the Cross.

By 1993, however, they were so overwhelmed with requests for performances that they decided to start performing on Wednesdays as well.

Story
The premise of the story is that one clown, Marmelduke, is sad because he can’t make people laugh anymore. As a result, he has lost his faith, and his friends have deserted him. A spirit comes to him and convinces him to follow Jesus through His passion and death.
As the journey winds its way through the Stations in a darkened church, the clown begins to understand the meaning of Jesus’ life and death. At the last Station, his sadness turns to rejoicing, and as other clowns reflect his conversion.

“People usually are crying by the end of the performance and often, so are the clowns,” Mrs. Ablett said.

Special night
Recalling a recent performance in front of developmentally disabled young adults, she said, “While we were getting ready for the performance, the group assembled themselves around a large crucifix at one end of the church. As we went out to begin, the church was all dark, except for a light highlighting the group. There they were, all assembled around the cross, waiting to watch us perform the Way of the Cross. We all began weeping when we saw them. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church.

“There is so much joy in this ministry. We give a lot to those that come to watch us perform. On the other hand, we all get so much out of performing. When you see the look on people’s faces at the end of the Stations, and feel the joy and love that is there, you know that the prayer of the Stations has been deeply felt and absorbed. It really touches people’s hearts.”

Another article from the Evangelist:

A sad-faced clown sits on a white bench, eyes downcast.

“Say hello to Marmeldook,” a narrator’s voice instructs, beginning a presentation unique to the Albany Diocese: The “Way of the Cross in the Company of Clowns.”

The Clown Ministry Associates — a group of 20 Catholics from around the Diocese — have been performing the Way of the Cross since 1987. That was when three professional clowns and a transitional deacon at St. Patrick’s parish in Ravena got together to find a way to use clowning in a “spiritual vein.”

From all over
The deacon (who, like many of the group, prefers that his name not be used) used his talents at music and drama to write the first script for the “Way of the Cross in the Company of Clowns.” With the help of another man with a background in radio theater, the group revised its script, and requests began to pour in for the presentation.

Today, the Associates range from 10-year-olds to grandparents, and they hail from and perform at churches all over the Diocese twice a week during Lent. Two members of the group are deacons.

Young members who leave for college are presented with the farewell gift of a clown’s derby hat and white gloves, and many squeeze in a performance or two when they’re home on vacation.

“It’s kind of a humble group,” explained Jack Ablett, a founding member of Clown Ministry. “We do it out of love for Christ.”

Story of Christ
The presentation’s storyline follows Marmeldook, a sad clown who has lost his friends and his faith, through a journey along the Stations of the Cross with a spirit who enlightens him.

“Nothing is right,” declares Marmeldook at the beginning. “I am in total darkness.”

In response, the spirit invites the clown to meet his friend: Jesus, “the author of truth.” Carrying a lighted candelabra, the spirit leads Marmeldook from Station to Station in a darkened church, explaining Jesus’ struggles as they relate to the clown’s life.

Halfway through the journey, Marmeldook takes the lead, learning to interpret Jesus’ life himself. By the presentation’s end, the sad clown has learned to rejoice in the empty cross at the Resurrection, and joyful clowns mime and play before descending on the audience with hugs and stickers.

Changes
Since the clowns’ Way of the Cross began, they have added female lead characters who alternate with the males, a “Greek chorus” of mimes who act out Marmeldook’s feelings and silent mimes who hold crosses that represent the Stations.

The latter change took place because many later-built churches where the troupe performed didn’t have Stations of the Cross. The crosses held by the clowns read simply, “fallen” (for “Jesus falls the first time”) or “a woman dares” (for “Veronica wipes the face of Jesus”).

Some things haven’t changed: To this day, Rev. John Mealey’s voice is heard on the tape that introduces the clowns; Father Mealey died in 1997.

Everyman
While clowns are seen as symbols of humor, the Clown Ministry Associates take a page from Emmett Kelly. “It isn’t essentially a humorous thing,” said Rita Ablett, a founding member of the group. “It isn’t about clowns — it’s about people.”

The only humor in the clowns’ performance is at the beginning, when two happy clowns try to cheer up Marmeldook, and in some of the sad clown’s questions to the spirit. At one Station, for example, the spirit explains that Jesus told the women of Jerusalem, “Do not weep for me, but for yourselves and for your children.”

“How can you weep for your own sins when a lot of them are fun?” Marmeldook replies. Then the spirit reminds him that God understands that and can help him, one day at a time.

Journey to Calvary
Instead of jokes and pratfalls, the plot invites the audience to struggle along with Marmeldook. At the 12th Station, “sacrificed,” where Jesus dies on the cross, Marmeldook says, “I would like to kneel down here.”
“Let the whole world kneel down here,” says the spirit, and the audience follows suit.

At the following Station, Marmeldook ponders what Mary must be thinking as she holds her son’s body as, in the background, the “Ave Maria” plays. During a recent presentation at St. Ambrose Church in Latham, the church was silent except for the sound of an elderly woman blowing her nose, moved to tears.

Controversy
The idea for the clowns’ Way of the Cross is controversial, and the group has encountered some criticism over the years. A recent presentation at St. Paul’s Church in Rock City Falls (a mission of St. Joseph’s in Greenfield Center) was besieged by the media after a single protester asked Catholics to picket there.

However, the Abletts noted that those who come to the clowns’ presentation find they have nothing to protest. “If that gentleman [who protested] had come, he would have realized this is not a fun thing,” Mr. Ablett explained.

The group shrugs off any criticism. “I feel we’re doing the Lord’s work, and the Lord will protect us,” Mrs. Ablett declared.

As a matter of fact, the pair noted, one man leaving St. Paul’s after their “controversial” presentation was quoted as saying tearfully, “May God forgive me if I had not come tonight….I did not want to come.”

Audience support
The performers remain devoted to taking part in the Way of the Cross. “I wanted to go to Florida this year, but we hang around in the winter just to do this,” said Mr. Ablett with a smile. “It’s the love of it, I guess.”

Their audience seemed to agree. After the performance at St. Ambrose, one parishioner said with some embarrassment, “It’s the first time I ever paid attention to the Stations of the Cross!”
Everyone seemed to take to heart the message that ends the clowns’ presentation. The spirit says to Marmeldook: “Go now, and be of good cheer.”

Did you notice the line is the second article about many of the churches where they perform not having stations of the cross? I have been fortunate to have never seen a Catholic church without stations of the cross on the walls.

This post is giving me nothing but problems. I have attempted to post it 6 times. One time it worked but without all the pictures. Then I tried to fix it and ended up losing everything so I have to start all over again. I am frustrated.

Friday, March 24, 2006 was the day of the consistory and the surrounding receptions. It was absolutely exhausted, and exhilirating all at the same time.

Our day started early this morning at 5 am. Thankfully, the clothes that we sent to the laundry to be pressed came back perfect. We tried to get washed and ready in the incredibly small bathroom and “cell”. We kept tripping over each other.

Piazza Sant’ Ufficio

Somehow we did get ready and by 6:30 we were having breakfast. At 7 I looked out the window and saw that people were already beginning to line up to for the consistory. So, we left the hotel and joined the 40-50 people who were waiting in line. As we waited we watched the people who work in the Vatican coming to work through the Piazza Sant’ Ufficio and the various delivery trucks coming to make their deliveries. The Americans who were in line were fascinated to see a Coca-Cola truck delivering to the Vatican. We were all freezing cold and hoping that it wouldn’t rain. The skies were threatening and there were occasional rumbles of thunder. Fortunately, the rain held off until the consistory ended. Then the downpour began.

Within 20 minutes the line of 50 had become a massive crowd of several thousand which kept growing.

The barricade was opened at 8:30 and we were sent through security. We walked though metal detectors and our bags were x-rayed. People started pushing and running to get ahead, but the Swiss Guard and Vatican Police put a stop to that. Several guards called out to people, “Remember you ARE in church!” Some people who tried to force their way to good seats were detained by the guards and made to wait a few minutes.

We found some excellent seats in the middle of the first row. We were right next to the television camera. In the section in front of us, there were a few rows reserved for the cardinal’s families and visiting heads of state.

Archbishop Marini rehearsing with the servers

The square was buzzing with activity as gardeners made last minute changes to flowers. They even laid sod. Altar servers rehearsed under Archbishop Marini’s careful direction. Microphones were tested, furniture was repositioned and red hats were counted.

The Cardinals-elect

The choir stood against the wall of St. Peter’s and was almost not able to be seen. The monsignori sat on the left, behind the Holy Father. The Cardinals were in front of them and the bishops were in front of them sitting slightly askew.
The Gentlemen of the Vatican and their wives sat on the right along with more bishops.


Cardinal-Elect O’Malley

The new cardinals processed from the Apostolic Palace to the sagrato of the basilica. Seeing Bishop Sean in his cardinatial robes was such a moving experience brought me to tears. Literally tears of joy. He sat on the sagrato, directly in front of us. I was surprised when he noticed us and waved.

Pope Benedict walking to his chair

It wasn’t long before Pope Benedict appeared in procession from the central doors of the basilica. The organ and choir sounded beautiful. Actually, the entire liturgy was spectacular.

The moment!

The new cardinal

One of the moments which caused a outpouring of emotion was when Cardinal Dery, from Ghana, was carried up the steps to the pope in his wheelchair. Pope Benedict rose, leaned down and embraced him. It was a loving, tender gesture of love and respect towards the 87 year old cardinal which got a huge “Awwww!” from the congregation.

After the liturgy, we left the square along with the massive crowd. We returned quickly to our hotel for a few minutes then headed to the Pontifical North American College. It was a short walk through a tunnel, a parking garage and a hill. Once we got to the PNAC we were surrounded by familiar faces. It was nice to see so many people from the Diocese of Fall River. There were also many people from the Archdiocese of Washington, where Cardinal O’Malley served as a priest for many years, and from the Diocese of Palm Beach.

The reception was in honor of both Cardinal O’Malley and Cardinal Levada, so there were many people from the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Several of the people at our table were from San Francisco and three others were theology students at the Angelicum. Since it is a Friday of Lent, lunch was eggs every which way and pasta.

William Cardinal Levada

After we ate, we joined the lines to greet both Cardinal O’Malley and Cardinal Levada. I must admit to being nervous to speak with the successor of Cardinal Ratzinger. However, he was very nice. I don’t know what I was afraid of. It’s not like I have never talked with a cardinal before, but it is the first time I have talked with anyone who works so closely with the pope.

Photos by Domini Sumus

Pope Benedict met with two interesting people yesterday evening. However, they each met with him separately.

– Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

– Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei.”

Do you think this is a sign that the moto proprio is coming soon?

Thursday, March 23, 2006 was the only completely free day we had in Rome. There was some event planned for all the other days. We spent this day exploring the beautiful city and some of it’s many churches.

Today has been a very interesting day. We have learned a lot. We woke up early this morning and went upstairs to the dining room for have breakfast. Our hotel is one of the few here which offers a full American style breakfast.

Soon after we sat down, we met a priest, Fr. T., from my diocese. He joined us for breakfast and we had a lovely time eating overcooked scrambled eggs, bacon, and red blood orange juice. We had such a great time that breakfast went on well after we had finished eating. It was well over an hour before we decided that we couldn’t spend the whole day in the dining room.

Father asked us where we were headed for the day and we admitted that we didn’t have a clue. He offered to take us on a tour of Rome. He knew exactly where he was going, or at least pretended to. We went to so many churches that I don’t remember the names of them all. The only one that I remember was Santa Agnese. We also visited the Piazza Farnese and Piazza Navona.

We split at noon as Father had scheduled to have lunch with another priest from our diocese. We went to find, the clerical tailor, Gammarelli. In front of the shop, we met a group of seminarians from the North American College. One f these was from my diocese and a friend of my husband. We took some pictures together and talked briefly before they had to rush to their next class. He was very surprised and took some pictures with us. Afterwards, my husband and I went into Gammarelli to look for some gifts. After looking at many things, including the famous evangelists miter which was popular with so many popes (1,190.00 euro) , we made our selections.

Then we went for lunch because everything was closing for siesta. We found a little pizza place called La Sagrestia on Via Seminario. I got a pizza capriccia with sauce, cheese, prosciutto and mushrooms and peas. My husband had pizza margherita with sauce, cheese and basil. It was delicious.

After lunch we went to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs, better known as the Pantheon. It is amazing to think that that building is over 2,000 years old. It was built in 27 B.C. St. Peter probably walked right by it, if not St. Peter certainly saw it. I was quite surprised to see a painting where a pope or bishop is wearing the same style pallium as Pope Benedict wears.

As we were leaving we met up with Fr. T again. From there, the three of us went to see the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. The church doesn’t look like much from the outside but the interior is breathtaking. It was interesting to see the lines outside which mark the heights the city had flooded to.

As we were leaving it began to pour and then hail. We had to buy umbrellas from one of the many vendors in the square who we had rejected just a few minutes before. After visiting various church supply shops, we took a taxi back to our hotel.

When we got to our hotel, we met Archbishop Dolan from Milwaukee. We spoke with him for a few minutes. He is a delightful man with a great sense of humor. He sounds like a lot of fun to spend the day with. Archbishop Dolan is known to be rather conservative, despite what some people may think that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a sense of humor.

At 6 pm, Fr. T, my husband and I went for dinner at Passegiata sul Borgo, better known as Roberto’s. The restaurant is located on Borgo Pio, which is one of the main streets near the Vatican. The restaurant was empty when we arrived, but it didn’t take long for it to fill up. Most of the diners were clergy and their guests. I have never been in a restaurant before where there was at least one priest at each table. Actually, there were more priests and bishops there than lay people. There were even a few cardinals there. The food was great. I am getting used to the idea of a pasta course, a primi piatti (first course) and so on. We had pasta with meat and cream sauce, cannelloni, and for our main course veal. For dessert we had tartufo. It was all delicious. Dinner was very relaxed and took over 3 hours.

We will be waking up very early tomorrow morning to attend the consistory and the two receptions we have been invited to attend. I can’t wait!

Photos by Domini Sumus.

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