Praised be Jesus Christ to everyone! We are sorry for not sharing reflections yesterday. We arrived back at the campus about 11:00 pm and as it was a long day – the better part of valor, for the sake of writing a coherent reflection, was to wait until today.
Today was the official welcome of the Holy Father, which I am sure many of you have already read or heard about. The welcome was glorious. A reporter in The Australian, this morning’s edition, reported that the clouds were covering the sky and when the Holy Father got off the boat at the harbor, the clouds parted and the sun streamed through and filled the harbor and dock area – the reporter stated: “coincidence or divine providence?” Very nice!! 🙂
We were not at the harbor but had tickets for a park by the cathedral called the “Domain”. We were able to watch our Holy Father on a big screen. Once again, it was a very pleasant and grace-filled experience. SMS and I left for the “Domain” early and were one of the first 50 or so pilgrims to be let in – which allowed us to survey the lay of the land and pick a very nice spot by the road our Holy Father would pass by in the pope mobile. We had a simple picnic lunch next to a lovely family with four girls. Since we arrived very early (noon), we had a good five hour wait before the Holy Father would be driving by, so we spent our time talking with pilgrims.
About 5:30 our Holy Father arrived at the “Domian.” We were about twelve feet from him as he passed by. Although the driver sped by quickly – much quicker than any of us anticipated would happen – I felt blessed beyond measure. It’s hard to explain the feeling – I am not even sure you can call it a ‘feeling’ because it was more of a knowing that our Lord was so near and so present in this man who has been called to be His voice to us. Grace, mystery, gift, and communion – these are the words that resound in the soul as I contemplate the Office of Peter, Vicar of Christ, to us all.
After the “Papal Dash” – which is actually coined by the pilgrims and the reporters -as pilgrims who run far ahead of the pope mobile to get a second and sometimes a third look at the Holy Father as he is passing by. We, on the other hand, truly felt it was a “papal dash’ because of the speed at which the driver was going past us:-) We then, headed to the cathedral for our shift at the crypt of the cathedral for Adoration. Before we went to our posts, the sacristan gave us an unexpected gift (are we surprised anymore?:). He walked SMS and I through the vesting rooms of the cathedral and gave us a whole history lesson of the building – it was originally a Benedictine Monastery. He took us to the Cardinal’s vesting room where the Holy Father will vest for Mass tomorrow morning. This will be the Mass SMS will receive Holy Communion from His Holiness. The rooms are filled with portraits fo the first cardinals, also relics – very regal and stately…and old. We were thrilled, to say the least.
We love you and pray for you. God reward you for the various greetings we received on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. To the brides: we just watched the slide show – you all look beautiful and radiant – you were in our hearts and prayers ALL DAY and leading up to the day. To our new novices – your names fit you perfectly – how beautiful they are! We are blessed to have you as our sisters!! We miss you and look forward to sharing more this evening. God bless you!
Sister Grace Helena and Sister Mary Scholastica