The Holy Father in New York

What a lovely Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral! I was in tears many times, and the sight of the lovely young sisters filling the church with our wonderful priests and deacons was just beautiful!

(Forgive the commericial at first, but here is a video of a portion of the Holy Father’s homily.)

The only thing that bugged me was the Secret Service’s insistence on manhandling the faithful who merely want to kiss Peter’s ring. I understand that they want to keep the pope safe, but everyone there went through heavier-than-usual security just to get inside (you always have to get your bags checked now at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral). I just don’t see the need to shove Missionaries of Charity back so they cannot honor the pope by kissing his hand.

Oh, but if you stayed tuned to EWTN, you had the chance to see a beautiful young nun fall to her knees in front of the pope as he went to her, spoke with her, and blessed her. The smile on her face was just plain ear-to-ear! (And who can blame her!)

Then, last night, the Holy Father went to Saint Joseph’s Seminary and met with and blessed disabled and retarded children and their caretakers (many of them, parents). As he entered, he went to each and every child and blessed them, touching their faces gently as he prayed over each of them. When some of the children presented him with a painting, they went up to him for another blessing, and then one girl just reached out and hugged him! It was so beautiful, and he gently hugged her (and her friend who decided to join in). Heartwarming seems to be the most appropriate word here. And before he left them, the pope asked them all to please pray for him because he so needs our prayers. His humility never ceases to amaze me.

This morning, as the Holy Father met with those who had lost loved ones at Ground Zero, I watched as he talked with each of those present, one at a time. His face was etched with compassion and concern. Clearly, he grieves for these people. His pastoral care is so evident. His love for everyone he meets is clear. And when I see him in situations like at the seminary with those children and there at Ground Zero, I actually cease to see him. Instead, I see the One who has chosen him to lead the Church here on Earth.

Today, as the Holy Father met those men and women whose loved ones rest at the bottom of the pit now called Ground Zero, I saw the face of Christ.

The Masses are really beautiful, and they are the center of our lives as Christians, but if you want to see what the pope is like, if you want to see Catholicism in action, try to catch the encore presentations of each of these events. (I have the EWTN schedule at this post.) It is here that you see what a Catholic looks like. It is here that you see Christianity at its finest. It is here that you see the Holy Father disappearing and Christ shining through him.

May the Lord God bless and keep the Holy Father. May His face shine upon him and give him peace.


[image credits: homily video, Pope Benedict XVI blessed child in her mother’s arms, Holy Father with disabled children, at Ground Zero]

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