Let Us Be Saints!
Waiting for Papa Bene
A great highlight of last week was the papal audience we got to attend.  Fr. Carola has some serious connections so we were able to get tickets and make it to the weekly 10:30 am audience that Papa Bene has in a Vatican auditorium.  We got there a couple hours early to get good seats and I'd say we were 20 rows back from the stage!  So close to our Holy Father!  There were probably 1000 people in that room, from all different countries, including lots of children who were singing and waving colored scarves so their groups would stay together.  It gave me so much hope for the Church to see so many bambini (children) excited about our Holy Father.  The cheers of "Viva La Papa!  Ben-e-detto!" were almost deafening.  Praise God! 

The actual audience lasted probably an hour and a half.  Papa Bene's arrival brought everyone to their feet in applause.  We heard a reading from the Book of Sirach in Italian, then about six other languages by priests from the respective countries (French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish).  Then Pope Benedict gave his address, about St. Peter Canisius, as part of his current series on the Church Fathers.  Fr. Carola was delighted in the fact that Papa Bene chose this saint to speak about because Father had entrusted this year to St. Peter Canisius' intercession!  The address was in Italian, followed by the priests of various languages  introducing to the Holy Father the pilgrim groups from countries that speak that language. 

When they got to English sure enough the University of St. Thomas was announced and we stood up and got to wave at the Holy Father!  What a gentle man!  It was so sweet to hear some groups of children sing brief songs they had prepared for the pontiff.  Then Papa Bene spoke briefly in the language of that group of people.  You can read his English address here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110209_en.html.  At the end we all sang the Pater Noster together...this is the beauty of Latin as the language of the Church.  People from all different places that speak different languages can be united in this language.  It just gave me goosebumps!  How great is our Church and how beautiful to see our German Shepherd in person! 

Then to top the week off, we had the beautiful opportunity to pray by the bones of St. Peter, our first pope!  The Scavi tour brought us under St. Peter's Basilica (we could actually look up and see people standing in the sanctuary of St. Peter's!) right near the tomb of St. Peter himself.  The bones were discovered by a graffiti wall that read, in Greek "Peter is here."  When the bones were tested, they were said to be an old man from the 1st century, and there were no feet bones in the bunch, which can be attributed to the fact that he was crucified upside down.  It was a sacred moment for all of us to peer upon the bones of this great apostle and saint right before us...several of his jaw bones.  He is the patron of my parish back home...he is the rock upon whom Christ founded his Church...he was so human (denying Christ three times) yet our Lord chose him to shepherd the flock.  This was truly indescribable. 

Then just a few yards away was the tomb of John Paul II, our late Holy Father who will be beatified in just a couple of months!  I was emotionally exhausted at the end of this day...being in the presence of such greatness...praying for the intercession of these incredible, holy men.  I was in the presence of our first, last, and current Holy Fathers, in very different ways, during the past week.  We are blessed indeed. 

This picture is a bit blurry but there he is in the middle! On the sides are the Swiss Guard and in the background is some odd modern liturgical art that I have named 'Jesus of the Coral Reef.'
2/13/2011 02:52:28 am

Wow! So many holy fathers in one small day! That's so cool. And i like the coral reef name. :) Looks like something from the Little Mermaid. Except way better cuz there's Popes!! These are so much fun to read, Paula. :) You're such a great writer. Love and prayers!


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