Today, Sunday, our day started early with breakfast, then bus transport to St. Peter for Mass in the Basilica at 8:30. It was a very moving experience as we celebrated Mass (fist time as a Bishop in St. Peter) at the same altar where I was ordained a Deacon 18 1/2 years ago.
As I sat in that same sanctuary, I could not but pray for my “new classmates” of newly ordained bishops, while at the same time remembering the many other classmates of ’92 who laid prostrate on that same floor with me on our ordination day so many years ago.
As I awaited my turn to approach the altar to receive Communion, I was struck with the thought that the LORD was calling me to Himself once again, in this holy city where so much of my priestly vocation was formed and “worked out”. The LORD was calling me again, to the same altar where He daily nourishes us to strengthen me for this new vocation of guiding His Church as a successor of the Apostles. The LORD was nourishing me once again, only to send me out, once again, to continue to serve Him, to serve and love His People; to bring His compassion and presence into the world in a manner fresh and alive for the people of our time.
As we processed out from Mass, we were given the great privilege to go down the stairs beneath the great Bernini baldacchino to the confessio of St. Peter to pay our respects, and to ask his prayerful intercession for our ministry, and the People of God entrusted to our pastoral care. After Mass, we were also given a beautiful tour of the Sistine Chapel…a truly blessed moment and morning! All of you were in my prayers!
After the Sistine Chapel tour, I met two of our Cheyenne seminarians in St. Peter’s Square. Bob and Dan are shown with me in the photograph, taken from the roof of the North American College, with St. Peter in the background. Bob and Dan are “new men” in Rome, and are getting settled in quite nicely. Their families will be glad to know they are doing fine!
That is all for now. Please know of my continued prayers for all of you.