Kyrie Eleison

“Let Souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy,
because the abundance of graces which I grant them flows from My mercy.”

-Jesus, St. Faustina’s Diary

After the bulk of our 10-day (Mont Saint-Michel, Lourdes, and Barcelona), we made our way back to Gaming for a day before leaving for the Canonization. We were all so excited. The opportunity to attend a canonization is rare for most people. The opportunity to attend a dual-canonization is even rarer! The opportunity to attend a dual-pope canonization… Wow. We were really looking forward to the chance to be there. We took the extremely long bus ride from Gaming to Rome. Everyone had trouble sleeping; we watched some movies; we had times of prayer. It was a great time to talk to people, not to sleep, but to enjoy the beauty of Europe and the people around us.

After the long bus ride, we made it to Rome very early on that Sunday morning. We were dropped off a little ways from St. Peter’s Square. We made our way toward the Vatican. However, it was packed. So we got to the area around the Castel Sant’Angelo. We pushed our way through the crowds, attempting to get as good of spots as was possible. We made our way down into the moat (which was not filled with water). It was initially going to be a spot to hang out until we made our way to a different place, but we ended up just staying there for our time. We prayed; we talked; we looked around at all the varying people surrounding us. A friend and I attempted to find a bathroom but got stuck in a very stagnant crowd near the castle. We eventually made our way to a bakery. After making our way back to our group, we hung out until it was time for the Canonization.

Popes JPII and JXXIII

No one had really prepared us for what was going to happen and when. We found a spot on the hill, looking up toward a screen opposite of us. I managed to see half of the screen. The Canonization (and certain parts of the Mass) were in Italian; the Mass was in Latin (but I couldn’t hear that at the time). So I really had no idea what was going on. Apparently the actual Canonization declaration was before Mass, which I didn’t know. Once Mass started, I was able to follow along, though I did not have Mass responses. Although I had no idea what was going on throughout the Canonization, I was so blessed to have the opportunity to go there. Being able to attend the declaration of the sainthood of two of our great popes in the last century was such a blessing.

After the Canonization, we made our way to the NAC (North American College) so that we could go to Mass. [Most of us were unable to receive Communion at the Canonization, so we were able to attend Mass at which 1) we could understand everything that was going on, and 2) we could receive the Eucharist.] The chapel in the NAC was beautiful. I definitely appreciated that opportunity. After Mass, we wandered a little bit around Rome, during which I met Matt Maher and Fr. Robert Barron, so that was cool. I found some pizza with some friends. [It was the last time I would be in Italy for a very long time.] After pizza, we made our way to get some fairly inexpensive gelato that was rather good. Pizza and gelato were a good end to my time there.

I didn’t really have any clue of what was going on. I didn’t understand any of the Mass or Canonization. But I still cherish that opportunity to go. I stood there amongst millions of Catholics from around the world, waiting to hear (but often not understand) the declaration of two of our popes’ status (for lack of a better term) as saints in Heaven above. We look to Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II as two of our examples of great holiness. We see them as two great men who have listened to the universal call to holiness. And I was there for that declaration! I was there to appreciate the example of holiness that those men gave to the Church. No, I couldn’t understand. But I knew exactly what was happening: the declaration, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, examples of great holiness! I so greatly cherish that opportunity!

“Holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things.
It consists in accepting, with a smile, what Jesus sends us.
It consists in accepting and following the will of God.”

-Mother Theresa

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Duc In Altum

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