Friday, November 20, 2009
Been back a week, complete with nasty cold and cough. One of my charming parishioners apparently said that I should not be saying Mass last weekend because of those "foreign germs!" - only in Vermont! I wonder who they imagine would say all the weekend Masses? The Roman pilgrimage was filled with many graces. We did not have good weather, only three days without rain. One evening in Trastevere it rained so much our trousers were soaked past our ankles. We prayed before the tombs of at least 27 Saints - and a number of times in the Clementine Chapel before the first Pope and before John Paul II. We stayed at the Residenza Paolo VI, so had an ideal location for daily Mass at St. Peter's. It was a particular grace each morning, after Mass, to spend an hour in prayer before St. Peter's started to fill up and get noisy. I was lucky enough to be able to say Mass at the altar of St. Josaphat, my ordination day Patron - not on his Feast Day, my anniversary the 12th November, but at our last Mass in St. Peter's on the Tuesday. It was interesting to note how many priests were saying the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at the side altars every day. One of the highlights of the trip was a most gracious audience with Archbishop Raymond Burke, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. Sure to be named a Cardinal next year, Archbishop Burke gave us more than thirty minutes of his time. Most of what we discussed is, of course, "off the record," but suffice it to say he did not disappoint! One interesting comment he made as we left, was his conviction that, in the end, American Catholics will re-evangelize England! As all pilgrimages must have some discomfort, this was kindly supplied by the good people at Alitalia, Italian baggage-handlers and the kind folks at Delta on our return.