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The Church lost a giant yesterday with the passing of Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ. Cardinal Dulles was the only American theologian to become a prince of the Church having bypassed the episcopate. he was a convert to Catholicism from a prominent Presbyterian family.

Born in Auburn, New York, on August 24, 1918, to John Foster Dulles and Janet Pomeroy Avery Dulles. His father later became the United States Secretary of State to whom Dulles International Airport is dedicated.

Avery Dulles became a Catholic in 1940 and entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1946. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. After many years as an important influential theologian, he was elevated to the college of cardinals in recognition of his enormous contribution to Catholic theology. This elevation ordinarily comes with ordination as a bishop, but Dulles requested and recieved permission to decline this ordination.

Of his many works, Models of the Church, is one of his best known works. It was one of the first theological works I formally studied. However, he wrote prolifically on many issues.

I was fortunate to hear him speak last year on Divine Impassibility. The lecture, which was one of his very last, was simply brilliant.
I plan to travel to New York for the funeral and will report when I return.
Photo by Domini Sumus

Part 2 is available here.

The music began and the Cardinals began to process to the altar. The music was spectacular!

The Cardinals in Procession (The first three are DiNardo, O’Malley and Rigali)

If you look very closely, you will be able to see Pope Benedict’s miter and staff next to the black wall.

Incensing the Book of the Gospels. The candles which were held at the ambo are visible.

The homily

The Mass was beautiful even though we were watching it on TV. At seemingly every opportunity those seated in the front of the stadium erupted into cheers of Be-ne-dic-to! There was an exceptionally excited group in the upper left level. Before Mass, they had been doing the wave. The bleachers were very quiet.

Communion in my area went very slowly. We were instructed to descend from the top down and to go to the left, down the stairs, through the corridor, around through the inside and back to our seats. It was not even close to the way the video explained it. By the time the Holy Father gave the final blessing only the people in the upper 8 rows had received the Eucharist. I was in the 5th row from the bottom. For some reason, we did not receive Communion.

After Mass, the Holy Father returned to the Popemobile and finally the electric energy returned to the bleachers. We were going to get to see him. The people went to the lower area in order to get a better view, since the wall was higher than the Popemobile. The NYPD in my section did not like that and ordered everyone to return to their seats, although the people in other areas were not ordered to move. The people returned to their seats, but because the group in front of me was refusing to move and was preventing my return to my seat, I was stuck there. The police were getting very testy and I thought someone was going to get arrested. Finally, someone in charge said we could stay at the wall.

Finally he came to my area.

People were screaming and waving the white and yellow handkerchiefs.

Bye-bye Papa!

The Mass was beautiful, the music was perfect, the homily was awesome. I have since watched the Mass online and we definitely missed out on so much beauty. I know that planning a Mass like this is a huge responsibility, but I hope those who have this responsibility in the future will take care to ensure that the people in the back get as beautiful a view as those in the front. Also, I hope they will realize that even looking at the Holy Father’s back from a distance is more exciting than looking at a TV and knowing that the TV is blocking our view. I and those sitting near me would have not minded watching Pope Benedict celebrate Mass ad orientum. It would have created a much more prayerful environment and a sense that we were actually at Mass.

While watching the video I discovered that the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston was severely reprimanded by the Secret Service for reaching out to the Holy Father and it even appeared the Pope Benedict, himself, was slapped by an agent. Bishops who reached out to shake hands with the Holy Father did not fare much better. I found security to be far too harsh. I know they had the best of intentions, but I doubt the Pope needs to be protected from his own bishops.

To those who think I am just bitter and ungrateful, I am not. I am delighted to have been there. It was a momentous and spectacular day that I am grateful to have been a part of. I simply think that everyone should have been given equal consideration. This was my 5th time seeing Pope Benedict (I was exceptionally close all 4 previous times); but for most of the people there, this was their first and likely only opportunity. A police officer told me that only 1/3 of the people in the stadium could see the altar. I don’t know why the sanctuary was set up the way that it was, but there must have been a better option.

To those who have to plan Masses like this in the future: remember the folks in the cheap seats too! We don’t mind facing the same way as the celebrant.

So, after all that, what was the best part of the Mass? For me, it was seeing the Holy Father and being united with Catholics of all ages and walks of life from all over the country. The theme of this Apostolic visit was Christ our Hope and my hope was definately renewed by the large numbers of young seminarians, priests, and sisters, as well as the large numbers of young laity. The church is alive, even if it is not obvious in your own parish.

Photos by Domini Sumus

Part 1 can be found here.

Ronan Tynan

By the time we reached our seats, a good portion of the Concert of Hope was already over. Although the concert sounded great on TV, the loud songs did not sound as good in person. I wish the songs would have played more of a role in preparing us for Holy Mass, but it was still awesome to hear so many musicians I admire.

Jose Feliciano

The paper birds were pretty at first

The real birds were better

Security was in full force.

When the concert was over, we waited for the Holy Father. The excitement was electric. We waited for the popemobile to emerge and finally…Papa!

As he made his way around the stadium we expected that he would make a complete lap so everyone would be able to see him up close, but he stopped in front of the altar and went into the locker room to prepare for Mass. Many of the people seated in my area began to grumble because they had been unable to even see him.

Photos by Domini Sumus

After only three hours sleep, at 5 am, I headed to the parking lot where I was to meet the bus. I checked in with the bus captain and boarded the large charter coach bus. There were three buses, and 137 pilgrims traveling from my diocese (My diocese recieved 100 tickets, but the Archdiocese of Boston graciously provided 37 extra tickets). We left for New York promptly at 6 am and I finished up on my sleep.

Around 10 am we were treated to the video Inside the Vatican. It was an appropriate foreward to the Papal Mass. As we approached Yankee Stadium it became apparent that we were at the end of a long stream of buses. It took half an hour to reach the parking lot and get off the bus. It was now 11 am. No problem! We still have an hour to get in the stadium, right!

We walked from the bus to the skybridge that lead to the stadium. Along the way volunteers were offering pilgrims free bottles of water and police officers reminded us to have our tickets out for a spot check. I was waved through with no problem.

As I climbed the stairs to the skybridge, I saw a simple sign on the stadium announcing the Pope’s arrival. There were so many people in front of us that at times I wondered if the stairs and bridge would be able to support all the weight. I didn’t need to worry. We crossed the bridge with no problems and I saw the mob of people. A police officer checked my ticket and told me which gate to enter (there would be fewer people there, she said). I walked to the gate and after half an hour I finally reached the gate. As I handed my camera and purse to the Secret Service another Secret Service agent barked, “Bleacher tickets will not be accepted at this gate!”. What! I just waited in line for half an hour and now you tell me! I had asked before getting into line if this was the right line and I was assured that it was. I pleaded my case, but it was futile.

Now I only had 15 minutes to get into the stadium before the doors would be closed. I kept thinking about the other diocesan pilgrimages where pilgrims had been left disappointed. (My diocese has a poor record for getting pilgrims into events. Pilgrims to World Youth Day in Toronto never made it into the Papal Mass, Pilgrims to the Consistory in 2006 missed both the reception at the North American College and Cardinal O’Malley’s Mass of Thanksgiving.) I got into the line that the Secret Service instructed me to enter. The line was huge, but my Portuguese heritage and my Roman experience taught me a lot about dealing with lines. Yes, I cut in front of several hundred people. To them, I apologize. I trust that if you had just spent half an hour in a line only to be told that the person who told you it was the right line was wrong, you would understand. 😉

After having my purse and camera bag emptied and searched, I passed through the Secret Service check and entered the stadium around 12:05. I recieved a package containing an issue of Catholic Digest, the Gospel of John, an issue of NY Priest, a poncho, and a white handkerchief. I could hear the music from the Concert of Hope through the speakers. Now, where were the bleacher.

I couldn’t find the bleachers anywhere, but as I looked through the openings onto the field the sanctuary was beautiful! I had to get a program from another entrance because we weren’t given them at my entrance, actually the same entrance I had originally tried to enter. Yes, I had to pass that entrance to get to my seat. Makes sense, right? I finally found my seat and what a disappointment. I couldn’t see a thing.
Part 2 can he found here.
Photos by Domini Sumus
The Mass in New York was beautiful!

This was my view of the Mass.

Just one of the many large groups of seminarians.
More story and photos to come tonight.

I have to be honest. Despite all the papal visit blogging I have been doing here, it has mainly been because of the extraordinary number of hits rather than my own personal excitement.

I know you are all saying, “Huh? You aren’t excited about it?” Well, yes and no. I am thrilled that he is here because I think it will help the U.S. see him as he really is, rather than the caricature which the media and others present.

But, I have already seen Pope Benedict four times, so my excitement at seeing him in person has been rather low key. If someone told me that I was going to go up and greet him personally I would be jumping out of my seat, but I won’t be. Instead, I will be sitting on a bleacher behind the altar, behind the column, in the rain (threat of thunderstorms), to see the Pope on a Jumbotron. (Especially when I just found out that I could have gotten field seats)

It’s quite a disappointment compared to my previous papal encounters. The first time I was literally close enough to touch him. The next two times I was in the first row in St. Peter’s Square. The fourth time I was further away, but still close enough to see him very well.

However, after watching the coverage of the papal events I am reminded of the first time I saw Pope Benedict and the I don’t care if I am getting wet in the obstructed view, cheap seats. I want to welcome my Holy Father to my country and show him the love which America has for him, the Church, and the office of the Pope.

After all, that is what it’s all about.

By the way, does anyone can connections where I can greet Pope Benedict personally? Hey, it was worth asking!

From the Standard-Times

As Pope Benedict XVI arrives today in Washington, D.C., on the first leg of a six-day visit, local Catholics will be paying close attention to how the pontiff addresses the clergy sex abuse crisis that rocked the American church in 2002.

“Benedict will not be vague or ambiguous in condemning it,” the Rev. Roger J. Landry, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in New Bedford, said Monday.

The Rev. Landry is coordinating transportation for 100 parishioners from across the Fall River diocese to attend the April 20 papal Mass at Yankee Stadium.

The local pilgrims will find security at Yankee Stadium to be among the most stringent ever seen in a U.S. venue. Security has been increased in the wake of the Secret Service receiving “credible” death threats against the pope. Tickets to the papal Mass have bar codes with the parishioners’ identifications.

Pope Benedict’s apostolic visit — its theme being “Christ Our Hope” — is the first papal pilgrimage to the United States since the abuse scandals. The pope is expected to address the issue in his remarks to U.S. bishops and in his homilies in Washington and New York.

At the same time, the pope, who marks his 81st birthday on Wednesday, will face challenges within the American church that include: declining Mass attendance; parishes and schools that have closed; declining numbers of priests, nuns and other religious; and especially disagreements among Catholics over church teachings.

Despite the efforts of Boston Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley, the former bishop of the Fall River diocese, Pope Benedict will not be visiting Boston, which was at the epicenter of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The Rev. Landry said the Vatican did not want the pope’s visit to end on that note.

Voice of the Faithful, a lay group formed in response to the abuse crisis, is seeking to keep the issue front and center, raising money to buy a full-page advertisement in the New York Times and other national newspapers.

“We don’t think (Pope Benedict) understands what’s happening in the U.S. church,” John Moynihan, Voice of the Faithful communications director, told The Standard-Times last month. “We want to call his attention to reality.”

As prefect for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Benedict, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had responsibility for reviewing allegations of sexual abuse against priests. Condemning sex abuse, he denounced “filth” in the church, “even among those in the priesthood.”

As pope, he has endorsed efforts to examine abuse allegations and to support victims, the Rev. Landry said.

During his U.S. visit, Pope Benedict will seek to promote healing within the church, as well as to remind the clergy of their vocation to a holy or consecrated life, the Rev. Landry said.

“Benedict has no blinders on,” the Rev. Landry said. “He’s going to be ever firm in calling out the clergy is supposed to be, above all, holy.”

Over the next three days, the pope’s itinerary in Washington will include a private meeting with President Bush, a prayer service with 350 U.S. bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and Mass at Nationals Park.

Fall River Bishop George W. Coleman will participate in the prayer service and will concelebrate the pope’s Mass at Nationals Park.

John Kearns, spokesman for the Fall River diocese, will assist the communications staff of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference.

While in Washington, Pope Benedict will also address leaders from Catholic colleges, and meet with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and representatives from other religions.

In New York, the pope will address the U.N. General Assembly, visit Ground Zero, celebrate a special Mass for priests and religious at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, visit a synagogue and celebrate the public Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Fall River diocesan priests, the Revs. Kevin Cook and David Pignato, will attend the special Mass for priests at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The Rev. Landry said Pope Benedict will challenge Catholic Americans to fulfill the hopes enshrined in the nation’s founding documents.

“He wants to make sure the focus is on God,” the Rev. Landry said. “He sees his whole papacy as reminding people that their lives as Christians are supposed to be filled with joy.”

In previous writings and interviews, the pope has articulated a fondness for the United States, admiring the nation for its robust spirituality. Despite the occasional First Amendment tensions over separation of church and state issues, Benedict has said religion is not marginalized in the U.S. the way it is now in Western Europe.

Benedict “is going to try to strengthen what the Vatican sees as America’s strengths,” the Rev. Landry said.

“He’s going to be talking of the history of Catholicism in the United States as this living out of faith, hope and love,” said the Rev. Landry, referencing the three theological virtues that have been the subjects of Pope Benedict’s first two encyclicals.

Benedict’s visit is the ninth papal pilgrimage to the United States, tying Poland with the country most visited by a pope. Popes Paul VI and John Paul II visited the U.S. during their papacies.

While John Paul II wielded immense charisma and an actor’s timing on the world stage, Benedict XVI is known more for a low-key scholarly approach. His writings and speeches, while at times sparking controversy, have generally been commended for their erudition and clarity.

“There’s a reverence with Benedict,” the Rev. Landry said. “Benedict makes people sit down, shut up and listen.”

The Rev. Landry said the depth of the pope’s thinking has made his writings “just as good as any of those of the early fathers of the church.” That would put the pontiff in the company of luminaries such as Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Leo the Great and St. Jerome.

“Watch for masterpieces,” the Rev. Landry said in referencing Pope Benedict’s upcoming addresses.

Pope Benedict kept the tradition of answering questions from the media during his flight to the U.S. The Associated Press was the first to file a report. Here are some excerpts.

As I expected, sex abuse was the topic which the media latched onto, at the expense of the Holy Father’s other comments.

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Associated Press) – Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday he was “deeply ashamed” of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and will work to make sure pedophiles don’t become priests.

Benedict was answering questions submitted in advance by reporters aboard a special Alitalia airliner as he was flying from Rome to Washington to begin his first papal pilgrimage to the United States.

“It is a great suffering for the Church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” Benedict said. “It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission … to these children.”

“I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future,” the pope said.

Benedict pledged that pedophiles would not be priests in the Catholic Church.

“We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” Benedict said in English. “It is more important to have good priests than many priests. We will do everything possible to heal this wound.”

Benedict’s pilgrimage was the first trip by a pontiff to the United States since the scandal involving priests sexually abusing young people rocked U.S. dioceses. The church has paid out more than $2 billion in abuse costs since 1950, with hundreds of millions in settlements just since 2002. Six U.S. dioceses have declared bankruptcy in recent years because of the financial toll of the scandal.
Pedophilia is “absolutely incompatible” with the priesthood,” Benedict said.

Vatican officials selected four questions to be read by the journalists to the pontiff aboard the plane.

Benedict described his pilgrimage as a journey to meet a “great people and a great church.” He spoke about the American model of religious values within a system of separation of church and state.

Update: John Allen has posted the transcript of the in flight Q&A session. The other three questions were on immigration, using religion in America to revitalize the Church in Europe, and natural law.

The question on the sexual abuse scandal was asked by John Allen. You can read the transcript here. A video of the Holy Father answering the question is available here.

2nd Update: This is my 1,000 post.

The winner of the Papal Skateboard contest has been chosen. The selection chosen was the one I preferred, with the Vatican crest. Keys and Papal tiara (no messing around with mitres here).

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