We celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi in Rome with traditions known t our own parish in East Sandwich: Holy Mass, a Eucharistic Procession, and Benediction. In Rome the feast is celebrated according to the age-old custom of gathering in the evening for Mass with the Holy Father followed by a grand procession from St. John Lateran Basilica to the Basilica of Mary Major. It all happened on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, three days before Corpus Christi was celebrated at our parish. I attended the open-air Mass with Pope Benedict XVI in front of St. John Lateran Basilica. On one side of the altar were hundreds of nuns and religious sisters; on the other side I was seated with hundreds of seminarians from around the world. The Pope preached beautifully and zealously about how the Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration must go together. He said that authentic friendship with Jesus grows in the silent reciprocal gaze during Adoration. Then he spoke about the importance of the sense of the sacred. We must honor sacredness of God by faithfully entering into the holy setting of the Mass and Adoration. Every human being needs the sense of the sacred in his or her life. When sacredness is not fostered and recognized in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus, people fill their lives with other rituals from the consumerist society that leave them empty inside. I love Pope Benedict’s message and vision for us! After Mass we processed for about one mile to the Basilica of Mary Major. The nuns and religious sisters processed first, and the seminarians followed. I chuckled when I saw that the Pope and the Eucharist were following us carried in the back of a white GMC pick-up truck, beautifully decorated and equipped with an altar and a kneeler. (I guess a heavy-duty American pick-up truck does a better job than the Pope-mobile). At the steps of the Basilica of Mary Major, Pope Benedict XVI elevated the Blessed Sacrament and blessed all gathered in the square. I offered the whole evening of prayer for you at Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich.
I finally finished the school year on June 15 with my last exam. Unfortunately, I will not be coming home this summer, but the Lord has great plans for me. In July and August, Bishop Coleman has given me permission to go to Calcutta, India to work with the Missionaries of Charity (the Order founded by Blessed Mother Teresa). I will be with three other seminarians from the American seminary in Rome. Pray for us that we learn to love the poor as Jesus does.