It has been a wonderful Triduum here in Rome - although I was "down for the count" for one of the days.
We had a wonderful celebration of Holy Thursday at the North American College (the American seminary here in Rome). Cardinal O'Brien presided at the Mass. Although I must admit that the Mass brought to my mind just how much I miss being pastor of a parish. As the Cardinal was delivering his homily and as he was washing the feet of 12 of the 5th-year men (priests who were ordained last spring), I recalled my years serving as pastor of parishes at home... and how much I miss being in a parish. For a diocesan priest, it is our life. I look forward to the time when I will once again have the joy and privilege of pastoring a flock. BTW - for all the people of the parishes I have served, every Sunday I offer Mass for all of you (quite literally, I offer Mass for all the people of the parishes where I have ever served: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Joseph (Hanover), Sacred Heart (Lewistown), St. Jude, St. Andrew, Our Lady of the Visitation, and St. Francis Xavier). You are remembered regularly in my prayers and my Masses. Here are some photos of the Mass.
|Cardinal O'Brien preaching|
|The Washing of the Feet|
|Can you find me? Look close!|
|The Altar of Repose|
After Mass we had a lovely dinner and time of fraternity among the priests. There is a wonderful group of men here serving the Church in various ways - and no matter where we are from, that priestly fraternity, originating on that first Holy Thursday, unites us as brothers. I am honored to serve along side them.
Friday - Good Friday. More information than you need, but, I was really sick. Didn't even leave the house. First Good Friday I've missed in 22 years. I watched the Holy Father on TV (yes, we can actually watch events at St. Peter's on TV here). Enough said. Let's move on.
Holy Saturday is a day of quiet waiting. Felt much better so got some exercise and some studying in. In the evening we went to the Easter Vigil with Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica. I sat with the 100-or-so other priests who also concelebrated the Mass. We waited in a dark basilica (strange sight) as the Holy Father light the Easter Fire just outside, under the portico.
Then the Holy Father entered the Basilica as we all held candles. The Exultet was sung - the glorious song announcing the Lord's glorious victory over death. One of the great lines: "O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, that gained for us so great a Redeemer." If you've never heard the Exultet sung at the Easter Vigil, you can listen to it here in Latin (not from this year) - or English. The words (in English) are here.
Not to say that the Easter Vigil Mass at the Vatican is just... Mass... things went as you would expect. Lovely music. Beautiful liturgy. Following the homily, the Holy Father (like every pastor) baptized and confirmed those who have been studying to enter the Church. One of those he baptized was a Nigerian immigrant named John Ogah. There's a fascinating story about him... he was here in Italy illegally standing outside a grocery store asking for money when someone robbed the store. He stopped the robber and held him until police came. It's a cool story about him...
|John Ogah prepares to be baptized by the Holy Father|
|A photo of the Cardinal's - including Cardinal O'Brien (3rd from the left)|
I'll continue with Easter Sunday in my next post... and there was another surprise for me! Stay tuned!