This morning we again rose
early and had Mass in the grottoes of St.
Peter's, the shrines under the basilica where
many of the popes are buried.
We have free time
till one when we tour the Vatican Museum and the
Sistine Chapel, which I am especially looking
forward to. We will also tour the Basilica
itself. I look forward to remembering our
parish at the tomb of Pope John XXIII as we try
to continue to open windows and doors of
possibility for one another in this Year of
Here are some of the reactions of the pilgrims
from yesterday's canonization:
"The many languages reminded us of the
universality of the church and the parts shared
in Latin united us as one."
"The banners of the new saints were reflected in
the faces of all of us there."
"We were made one."
"We celebrated as one body."
"I was in awe of the Pope's smile."
"Centuries of time have passed yet this remains
"The gospel proclaimed in Latin and in Greek."
"The inclusion of women as the readers and
leaders in the prayer of the faithful."
"The inclusion of the handicapped."
"The relics of the new saints carried up in
"The pilgrims coming dressed in local costumes
and the national banners and flags."
"The distances traveled to be present."
The canonization ceremony was
like being one with a great wash of universal
hope. Pictures were hung from the facade
of St. Peter's, but even more powerful were the
living icons of so many, many nationalities
brought together in the faces of real people who
mirror the image and vision of Jesus! May
we embrace one another!
We were very fortunate that our walk to the
Vatican afforded us not only seats but situated
us so that we were two (well maybe four) arms
length from the Pope when he passed us twice in
More to come, but we need time to process!
We have had a delightful time
under the Tuscan sun, but have had no internet
access since leaving Assisi. We just left the
enchanting city of Siena. Simply exquisite
artistry in the duomo. We celebrated
Mass in Catherine's home and reveled in a hilly
workout walking tour of the town. Our
guide, Donatella, helped us meet the one she
proudly called “our girl.”
Another wonderful guide helped us in Florence to
recognize that art "continues”!
We saw how Michaelangelo helped free what was always within
the stone. We celebrated Mass at
remembering that we are works of art. As Michaelangelo studied the human anatomy we have
been invited to look at the heart of God
revealed. Generations have been opened to a
journey that continues as we let the creating
hand of God free the good breathed into each of
us before we were born. It's a wonder to be
part of the history of so many trying to capture
and share sparks of the divine found within and
We just arrived in Orvieto and were awestruck as
the sun danced on the facade of the duomo. All
are enjoying the experience tremendously and
will toast you all tonight!
Fr. Tom sent the following brief note upon
arrival in Italy: "Buona sera from
We just settled into our rooms after
visiting the Portiuncula where Francis had the
mystical invitation to “rebuild” the church –
moving from the literal to responding to his own
desire to live the Word with his life. It is
easy to see how his heart responded to the
rhythm of this enchanted countryside. You find
yourself saying you can feel the peace.
Tomorrow we have Mass at Francis’ tomb and then
visit the monastery of St. Clare before heading
Our parish pilgrims headed for Rome gathered
this afternoon by the bus which would take them
to JFK airport for their evening flight.
Franciscan Fr. Kevin Cronin prayed blessing
prayers of St. Clare and St. Francis of Assisi.
The pilgrims were sporting their "COTJ" caps -
"Companions on the Journey" and were super
excited about their upcoming adventure.
Continue to pray for them on their pilgrimage,
and check the website periodically for news!
November 20, 2012
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