As October winds down, I want to call to remembrance the day that made a difference. 25 years ago in October (the 1st I believe) I went to a Mass celebrated by our Holy Father. As a high school student I had obtained a ticket to the "Youth Mass" on the Boston Common. The tickets let you have a standing spot in the roped-off area right behind the VIP seating on the Boston Common. Myself and a few friends I knew from hanging around Opus Dei centers got to the Boston Common entrance at about 6:30 AM and got in line, (they would open the 'gate' at 7:00 AM). When the gate opened we made a mad dash across the Common to claim our spot. We got our spot (and defended it) right on the front lines. There we waited................
I believe Mass was scheduled for about 4:00 PM. Due to some delays either on the flight from Ireland or on the motorcade route, Mass didn't actually start until around 6:00 PM.
It rained on and off all day. We didn't bring food or drink because we didn't want to lose our spot by having to use 'the facilities'. We prayed and sang and prayed and sang.
By the time Mass started, it was a driving rain. We didn't care. In his homily, the Holy Father ad-libbed about the rain - and brought the house down.
But mostly - he told us not to be afraid to follow Christ and to embrace His Cross.
When I think of our Holy Father now, I still picture in my mind the strong, young, and vibrant man who stood with us in the rain and brought Christ's message to 400,000 in Boston.
This man still transgresses the globe to bring the same message - but now he brings with him a real-life example of suffering for our Lord. He has embraced the suffering in his own body - which I am sure he offers for the Church.
Many do not understand Pope John Paul II and/or his pontificate. (Witness to Hope by George Weigel gives some great insight into the man and his pontificate). Those who do either love him or hate him.
His writings on the family (especially Familiaris Consortio) have guided some of my family's most difficult decisions. The Jeweler's Shop has deepened my understanding of the sacramental nature of marriage. His writings in unison with those of Pope Leo XIII (and others) have helped me change my world view from "American" to "Catholic".
From the small holding in Bethune ....
Oremus pro invicem!