Posts Tagged ‘Blessed John Paul II’

NJN Exclusive: Jesuit Shares his Experience of Pope John Paul II’s Beatification

P1090777-aCurrently studying theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Jesuit Scholastic Michael Rogers recently had the opportunity to be in the Eternal City during the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

In an exclusive to National Jesuit News, Rogers shares his experience of the late pontiff’s beatification…

In the past few days it has always been crowded around the simplest tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. This is not the tomb of St. Peter, with its grand Bernini Baldacchino, nor is it the one of the tombs of a pope surrounded by grand sculptures. This is a simple marble slab with the name of the pope buried there, engraved in red. The word around Rome is that the waiting list to offer a Mass at the altar of this tomb is already weeks long. Michelangelo’s Pietà, usually the main attraction in this section of the basilica, garners only a few visitors now. The crush of people has made it difficult to keep the Blessed Sacrament Chapel open lately, and so the tabernacle has shifted to the front of the church from where it usually resides. There, wedged between the chapels of the Pietà and the Blessed Sacrament, the resting place of Blessed John Paul II is simple, and yet there is a profound sense of the importance of this space to so many people.IMG_0636

When word broke back in January that John Paul II would be beatified last Sunday, I was among the first in my Jesuit community to say that I would be leaving Rome. Citing my desire to flee ahead of the crowds, I had planned to go south into the mountains of Calabria, or north to Tuscany. One thing, however, was sure. I was going to get out. Over the course of a couple of months my thoughts on this changed, though. The truth is that as the beatification day approached I wanted to be here more and more. When the invitation to distribute communion for the beatification arrived, all of my ideas about fleeing the city were cancelled, and I responded that I would be there.

It was 5:30am on the morning of May 1, 2011 and although tired, I headed off to a church event here in Rome. Wearing an old borrowed cassock, I crossed the Tiber not far from the General Curia of the Society and waited for the police escort to take us to where we would be distributing communion. In the crowd of over a million people, all around us you could hear languages from all over the world. There were groups of people singing and dancing. There was a sense of joy, and even among the many police who were clearly working overtime, there seemed to be a sense of relief that, for once, there was a gathering of people here in Rome that wasn’t a protest. The moment of this celebration was a moment to celebrate that one of us, someone whom we knew, had almost assuredly gone before us into the place where we all hope to go. Read the rest of this entry »

NJN Exclusive: Jesuit Shares his Experience of Pope John Paul II's Beatification

P1090777-aCurrently studying theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Jesuit Scholastic Michael Rogers recently had the opportunity to be in the Eternal City during the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

In an exclusive to National Jesuit News, Rogers shares his experience of the late pontiff’s beatification…

In the past few days it has always been crowded around the simplest tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. This is not the tomb of St. Peter, with its grand Bernini Baldacchino, nor is it the one of the tombs of a pope surrounded by grand sculptures. This is a simple marble slab with the name of the pope buried there, engraved in red. The word around Rome is that the waiting list to offer a Mass at the altar of this tomb is already weeks long. Michelangelo’s Pietà, usually the main attraction in this section of the basilica, garners only a few visitors now. The crush of people has made it difficult to keep the Blessed Sacrament Chapel open lately, and so the tabernacle has shifted to the front of the church from where it usually resides. There, wedged between the chapels of the Pietà and the Blessed Sacrament, the resting place of Blessed John Paul II is simple, and yet there is a profound sense of the importance of this space to so many people.IMG_0636

When word broke back in January that John Paul II would be beatified last Sunday, I was among the first in my Jesuit community to say that I would be leaving Rome. Citing my desire to flee ahead of the crowds, I had planned to go south into the mountains of Calabria, or north to Tuscany. One thing, however, was sure. I was going to get out. Over the course of a couple of months my thoughts on this changed, though. The truth is that as the beatification day approached I wanted to be here more and more. When the invitation to distribute communion for the beatification arrived, all of my ideas about fleeing the city were cancelled, and I responded that I would be there.

It was 5:30am on the morning of May 1, 2011 and although tired, I headed off to a church event here in Rome. Wearing an old borrowed cassock, I crossed the Tiber not far from the General Curia of the Society and waited for the police escort to take us to where we would be distributing communion. In the crowd of over a million people, all around us you could hear languages from all over the world. There were groups of people singing and dancing. There was a sense of joy, and even among the many police who were clearly working overtime, there seemed to be a sense of relief that, for once, there was a gathering of people here in Rome that wasn’t a protest. The moment of this celebration was a moment to celebrate that one of us, someone whom we knew, had almost assuredly gone before us into the place where we all hope to go. Read the rest of this entry »