Tag Archives: Fr. Jack Peterson

Bishop Burbidge Visits Youth Apostles

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For pictures from the evening, click here.

Bishop Michael Burbidge, the newly installed Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, visited Youth Apostles on Tuesday, March 21. He celebrated Mass and had dinner with our community.

After dinner, he joined us for a brief presentation by Mike Paquette, Fr. Tom, and Rob Tessier on the history, mission, and vision of Youth Apostles. Mike talked about our extensive candidate formation program and the thrust of our community to do youth ministry. As a priest in the Diocese, Fr. Tom told the Bishop how important it is to have consecrated clerics in community with single and married men. Rob spoke on his long career in youth ministry.

To conclude the evening, Bishop Burbidge asked the men present what the greatest needs of the youth are today and how we can meet those needs. The overall consensus was the plethora of distractions and options, and how it’s hard to compete for attention in the Northern Virginia area. Bishop commended us on our missionary zeal and apostolic thrust to serve the young people in the Diocese.

We were blessed to have the Bishop join us and be an active member of our special meeting with him that night. We continue to keep him in prayer as he begins his new ministry in our Diocese!

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Stay focused on Christmas!

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Reflection provided by Fr. Jack Peterson

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Christmas Day is celebrated for eight days in the Church. We call it the Octave of Christmas.  It ends on January 1 with the feast of the Mary, the Mother of God.

It is very easy to be distracted during Christmas by a flurry of activities such as enjoyable gatherings with family and friends, returning gifts to the Mall and some extra time for rest. While these are good things, time for prayer easily gets bumped out of our day. I want to encourage you to take time out to pray and reflect upon the great mystery of Christmas this week. Stop by a church or chapel and enjoy some quiet time of prayer in imitation of the Blessed Mother, “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2: 19).

Here are a few Scripture passages and questions that might be helpful to you.

“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger…” (Lk 2: 7).

  • Can you imagine Mary’s first hug of the Christ-child?

“Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over the flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them…” (Lk 2: 8-9).

  • Why did the Angel appear to shepherds?
  • Jacob, Moses and David were shepherds…
  • Jesus would proclaim, “I am the Good Shepherd.”
  • The lowly are often open to God’s presence and action in this world.
  • They teach us how to worship the Christ child with deep, humble faith.

“…laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn” (Lk 2: 7)

  • Did the animals in the stable sense something unusual?
  • You know how pets can sense when we are sick or in morning?
  • Did they grasp that something unusual was going on in their stable?

“I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord” (Lk 2: 10-11).

  • How do I allow the beauty of this mystery to bring “great joy” into my life?

Fr. Jack in Rome!

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Fr. Jack recently had the opportunity to celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. After Mass, he ran into Fr. Steve Shafran, SDB. He is the new provincial minister of the Salesians of Don Bosco. He invited Fr. Jack to be the main celebrant of the Mass for their school, Christo Rey, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of St. John Bosco’s death.
In addition, Fr. Jack shares his thoughts on St. John the Baptist while in France in his latest video!

Fr. Jack and Fr. Peter released to Youth Apostles

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Effective June 29, 2016, Bishop Loverde has agreed to release Fr. Peter and Fr. Jack for full-time service with Youth Apostles.

With the release, Bishop Loverde has also decided to assign another Chaplain to George Mason Catholic Campus Ministry. GMU has been a fantastic place for ministry for our community, and it will be hard for Fr. Peter to leave after 16 years of ministry. Fr. Peter leaves Mason in good hands, with 11 full time staff members (including six FOCUS Missionaries). He has made a tremendous impact among the students, as well as on campus with many student organizations. Bishop Loverde has appointed Fr. James Searby to serve as Chaplain.

In the Richmond Diocese, Bishop Francis DiLorenzo and Mike School have extended an invitation to have Fr. Peter become the Chaplain at James Madison University. After much prayer and discussion, we have decided to assign Fr. Peter there with great hopes for the future for him and for the ministry at JMU.

Finally, Bishop Loverde has entrusted the pastoral care of the Chaplaincy and Campus Ministry at Marymount University to our community for three years. At this time, Fr. Tom Yehl will continue as Director and Chaplain of Campus Ministry and Fr. Jack Peterson will continue as Assistant Chaplain.

Norfolk Community: What Can I Do For You?

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“What Can I Do For You?”

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New CCM Staff Members, John Lilly and Jimmy Noone, pose for a photo on ODU CCM’s Beach Retreat

This has been the theme of community life in Norfolk, VA since Jimmy Noone and I moved down to Norfolk back in August. Sean Mazary and Michael Pantazis also moved into the house.

Life in Norfolk has seen a bit of a transition the past few months. Jimmy comes in as the new Assistant Director of Campus Ministry at ODU since Andrew Waring’s departure to work for the Diocese of Richmond. I have been doing a Year of Volunteer Service as the Campus Ministry Intern at ODU. Overall, though, it has been great so far! The students are awesome and our new director, Julie LaBelle, has been doing a fantastic job in her new role. Fr. Mike is full of smiles, as always.

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New Director of Catholic Campus Ministry, Julie LaBelle, gives a talk on ODU CCM’s Beach Retreat.

Michael and Sean are both currently students at ODU. Sean is a senior studying Business Management and Michael is a junior studying Marine Biology. They are both great to have in the house.

Fr. Mike continues to be the tried and true chaplain at ODU. He continues to be a source of inspiration to the students. He is always available for Confession and there is daily Mass four times a week on campus. His joyful attitude is contagious on and off campus.

There has been lots of laughs in the house thus far. Everyone brings their own flavor to community. There’s a good communal atmosphere, and honesty and communication are a big staple of the house. We all seek to live out a spirit of service for each other on a daily basis.

Married Full Members Andrew Waring and Joe Clem are consistent presences at Tuesday meetings, which is a big boost to the community. Their example as married members serves as an inspiration and a steady presence to the community. They offer good advice to the younger members and are excellent role-models.

There are usually four to five ODU students at meetings as well. This has also added a nice burst of energy to the community. We are trying to encourage as many of them to come on Tuesday nights (or occasionally Saturday mornings!) as possible.

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ODU CCM Chaplain Fr. Mike Kuhn poses with Pope Francis during the first week of classes.

Fr. Jack Peterson, Jonathan Mundell, and Peter Clem paid us a recent visit this past Tuesday. Fr. Jack gave a wonderful talk on community life and how it’s so necessary for us as men to be accountable with one another. He gave examples from his own life, as well as the many experiences he has had living in community. Other members pitched in with their take as well, making for a great discussion.

In short, things are great in Norfolk. God is definitely blessing the community as well as the ministry. There are great things in store for us down here, and if you’re ever in town  just hollar!

 

Swinging into Summer: 18th Annual Golf Tournament

John Lilly No Comments
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Fr. Tom Yehl with Nicki Bennett

This past Monday, May 12th, Youth Apostles hosted it’s 18th Annual Golf Tournament at Raspberry Falls in Leesburg, VA. The event was well attended by golfers, sponsors, Youth Apostle brothers, and volunteers.

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Golfers enjoy a great shot

There was a total of 96 golfers, who thoroughly enjoyed their day. The weather was perfect for golfing. The rain held off just long enough for all the golfers to get in a good round! The shotgun start sounded at 1pm, and golfers raced to get to a good hole. After the initial rush, foursomes started at the front and back nine’s to get a good day of golfing in.

Father’s Jack, David, Peter, and Tom were all in attendance to the delight of many.

Youth Apostles grossed $106,531 total dollars. There were a total of 14 volunteers, who all had a splendid time taking pictures, checking golfers in, and helping with setup.

Check out more pictures from the day on our Facebook page.

It was a gorgeous day for golf, and we hope people will join us next year, May 11 at Raspberry Falls again!

Marymount’s Poland Pilgrimage

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By Benj Emrich:

Benj reading at JPII's home parish

Benj Emrich reading at JPII’s home parish

This summer Marymount University’s Campus Ministry organized a pilgrimage to Poland. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the trip.  On this pilgrimage we were able to follow in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II, St. Faustina Kowalska, and St. Maximilian Kolbe among other saints.  Throughout this trip we were able to visit many important places of the culture of Poland as well as explore its Catholic identity.  After a very long flight over the Atlantic from Dulles and a layover in Frankfurt, Germany I arrived in Poland very eager to experience all that it had to offer for my faith.

Madonna of the Black Tears

Image of the Black Madonna

After arriving in Poland we immediately began to tour the city of Warsaw. We traversed its streets in the official bus of the Polish National Soccer Team, and saw many important landmarks and buildings such as the Polish embassies.  Arriving at the Shrine of our Lady of Czestochowa, or the “Queen of Poland,” we were able to view the Black Madonna, a beautiful Icon of the Virgin Mary with the child Jesus.  We celebrated Mass there in a side chapel, spent some time in prayer, and then got settled into our hotel.

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Our Lady of Czetochowa Cathedral

The next day we continued to explore the Shrine of our Lady of Czestochowa where we received a tour of the beautiful shrine, had Mass in the chapel of the Black Madonna, and had much more time for personal prayer.  This is where the devotion Poland has for the Blessed Mother moved me the most! Afterwards we drove to Krakow where we had a brief tour and got settled in our hotel.

On the fourth day of the pilgrimage we drove to Wadowice, visiting the birthplace and home parish of John Paul II and had Mass inside.  We then proceeded to a monastery / retreat center in Kalwaria where we toured the grounds and had a lot of time for personal prayer. Kalwaria was high up in the mountains, which made it a beautiful place to be.

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Fr. Jack and Fr. David celebrating Mass in St. Maximilian Kolbe’s chapel.

The fifth day was a very moving day.  We spent time touring the Auschwitz concentration camp.  It was eye-opening for me to see firsthand this place about which I had heard so many terrible things.  We walked around the grounds, saw the living (or dying) conditions, and even walked through the gas chambers.  On our tour we passed by the cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe died. This was a very moving experience because he is a true model of Christian courage.

On day six we traveled into the mountains to Zakopane; this was definitely the most beautiful and breathtaking place we visited in Poland.  We started the day with Mass in a local chapel and then spent the remainder of the day touring Zakopane and its local markets.  We also traveled by funicular railway to the top of one of the mountains where we could see a beautiful, albeit foggy, view of the town and its many mountains.

Mass in the Cathedral of the Salt Mines

Mass in the Salt Mines

Day seven was spent at two neighboring locations. The first was the brand new Shrine of Spirituality dedicated to John Paul II and the second was the Shrine of Divine Mercy where St. Faustina lived.  This was a day filled with prayer.  We had Mass in St. Faustina chapel within the Shrine of Divine Mercy, we toured the monastery grounds as well as those at the Shrine of Spirituality, and then we had free time to explore, pray, and visit many religious shops.

On the eighth day we drove to Wieliczka where we toured the oldest salt mine in Poland.  This salt mine is a beautiful piece of art.  We celebrated Mass in the St. Kinga chapel, which was within the mine. All the artwork, the altar, ambo, presider’s, chair, etc., were carved entirely from the salt.  The rest of the day was spent touring downtown Krakow.  We visited and toured the Gothic Royal Castle as well as Collegium’s Mauis.  After this we had dinner in a local restaurant where we experienced more traditional Polish food as well as music and dancing.

For our last day before our departure we traveled to Niepokolanow, a beautiful shrine dedicated to and designed by St. Maximilian Kolbe.  Here we spent the day in prayer, celebrating Mass in a chapel that was built when the Franciscan mission was first established in that area.  After this, we had another groupdinner of ethnic polish cuisine, we toured more of Warsaw, and then prepared for our departure the next day.

The 10th and final day of the trip was a sad day because we were saying good-bye to this place we had come to love.  While our group was leaving Poland and all of its spiritual wonders, the things we learned there and how we grew in our own faith will stay with us.  Personally, Poland delivered to me many spiritual gifts that helped me to grow in my understanding of the saints and devotion to the Virgin Mary.  I can definitely speak for everyone who went on the trip in that we all grew greatly from the experience of traveling to this beautiful and faithful land of Poland.

Youth Apostles in Rome!

John Lilly No Comments

Dear Community Members and friends,

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I was extremely surprised to receive Fr. Jack’s invitation to join him and Meg Dalmut, the Directress of the Women’s Youth Apostles, on a Pilgrimage to Rome over Pentecost weekend.  He explained that Pope Francis had extended a worldwide invitation to members of Movements and Lay Associations within the Church to gather in Rome to celebrate the Year of Faith with him, and Fr. Jack thought it important to have a layman on the trip.  OK, I stoically said.  If I must represent the lay membership of Youth Apostles on a pilgrimage to the Eternal City, I will.  Anything for the needs of my community!

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The trip, however, wasn’t exclusively focused on the weekend events with the Holy Father.  The Youth Apostles Council has been considering the possibility of changing our Canonical status in the Church.  What we have as a Mixed Public Association (Priests, Consecrated and Lay members all in one community) works well and fits perfectly with our charism as Youth Apostles, but others have been suggesting we explore other possible structures within the Church to aid future expansion.  So, after debating the issue, our Directors decided it was time to visit Rome and get some expert advice.  And, at the same time, Youth Apostles would have the opportunity to connect with other communities like our own, to both learn from and share with others what we are and how we live our vocations.

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Thursday, May 16

After a long but largely uneventful flight from the States we arrived in Rome tired, but excited about the days ahead.  After quickly settling into our hotel in the Trastevere section of Rome (about 15 minutes by foot south of St. Peter’s Basilica), run by a group of Sacred Heart Sisters, we set off to make our appointments at the Pontifical Council of the Laity.  Canon Lawyer Dr. Philip Milligan  graciously welcomed us to his office, and he gave us some sound advice about how to help Youth Apostles grow.  In short, he encouraged us to keep living our charism as Youth Apostles and not to worry too much about our canonical status.  The good work we do, he noted, will go on and will thrive regardless of how we organize ourselves within the Church, since the Holy Spirit is in charge – an appropriate comment, I thought, for Pentecost weekend.

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We then met with Fr. Eric Jacquinet, Head of the Youth Section of the Council.  Fr. Eric was very interested in learning about Youth Apostles and he was very pleased to hear about our apostolate to youth.  He was especially happy to hear that we both educate and support our membership.  He lamented that today so many young youth ministers are not properly trained for their positions, and may leave all too quickly.  I was very proud at that moment to think about the many Youth Apostles I know who have been so active in ministry for so long.  Before we left, Fr. Jack and Fr. Eric discussed possible future collaborations.

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Later that evening, Fr. Jack celebrated a Mass in the chapel at our hotel.  It may sound strange to say, but Rome is simply littered with beautiful churches.  In our journeys around the city, we were often surprised by beautiful churches just popping up in front of us.  Such an experience was just one of the reasons why I love Rome.  But unfortunately many tourists, even those who look most diligently, will miss many of the city’s beautiful churches, like the one at the hotel, because they are private chapels.  Regardless of where we found ourselves we prayed for Youth Apostles at every holy spot. After Mass we went out to enjoy some of the great food Rome had to offer. When in Rome…

Friday, May 17

After a wonderful breakfast of bread and cheese we walked to Sacred Heart Church, built by St. Don Bosco.  The church is near the Termini, the main rail station of Rome.  Along the way we saw the city’s residents commuting to work, which, given the traffic and driving habits of the Romans, I think is a very dangerous thing to do.  I was glad to be on foot!

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Sacred Heart is beautiful, and I absolutely enjoyed being at a church so associated with Don Bosco, the wonderful Silesian priest who is our model for effective youth ministry.  After Fr. Jack celebrated Mass at the main altar (in English, although about a dozen Italian tourists joined the Mass), a wonderful priest from the Church gave us a private tour of Don Bosco’s room and the museum.  Surrounded by Don Bosco’s things, it was easy to feel his spirit.  Also, hearing familiar stories of Don Bosco’s life in our host’s broken English reminded me once again how the life of one person can transform many throughout the world. The remarkable witness of the same crazy priest from Turin clearly inspired both us and our host – regardless of where we live or minister.  Saint Don Bosco, pray for us and the youth we serve!

ya story pic #8After a bus ride back to the Vatican, we picked up our tickets for the Year of Faith events.  We were told that they expected over 120,000 participants at each event.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  Nor could I believe my eyes, when we entered St. Peter’s Square or the Basilica for the first time.  I last visited Rome in 1987 and I toured St. Peter’s extensively.  I was not mentally prepared, however, to see the Square or the Basilica again.  Over the years my memory of the Basilica and its surrounding areas had faded and I simply didn’t remember the massive scale of it all.  Like most of the tourists, I found myself walking around with my jaw open while snapping pictures that could not capture the Basilica’s beauty or significance.  But, as a Catholic kid from Maryland, I couldn’t be happier.

ya story pic #11Following a quick stop at a sidewalk café across the river, we set off to find St. Augustino and to pray at the tomb of St. Monica, St. Augustine’s mother.  I love St. Augustine and I enjoy teaching his Confessions, a remarkable story of conversion and the role of God’s grace.  As all who know Augustine’s story, St. Monica played a significant role in her son’s conversion and commitment to the faith.  The two great saints actually shared a momentary vision of heaven, just days before Monica died.  I have long marveled at St. Monica’s dedication to the Faith and to her son, but I was completely overwhelmed when praying at her tomb.  As a husband and parent I prayed for her intercession, so I, like St. Monica, may help my spouse and children grow in their faith and ultimately reach heaven.

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After leaving St. Augustino’s we stumbled into the Piazza Navona, which, in addition to its three beautiful fountains, was filled with artists, entertainers and tourists.  We couldn’t stay long, but we did stop in to pray at another stunning church, St. Agnes.  After a long wandering walk across the river we made it back to our hotel and enjoyed dinner at an outside table, followed by gelato.  A perfect end to a wonderful day.

Saturday May 19

We were up early and at St. Peter’s when they opened their doors at 7:00 A.M..  As part of the Year of Faith event we were scheduled to visit the tomb of St. Peter.  After several conversations with a very friendly usher at St. Peter’s we learned that the tour was actually just a self-directed tour of the Basilica.  So, rather than wait in a line to re-enter the Basilica as part of a tour, we took our new friend’s invitation to visit the tomb ourselves.  With a quick word to another usher we were brought immediately down to the crypt, where we had 10 minutes by ourselves praying at St. Peter’s tomb.  Fr. Jack recommended a few scenes from the Gospel for our reflection, and we enjoyed some time with the First Vicar of Christ.  We then looked around the crypt, looking at the tombs of other Popes and dignitaries.  Our Church is old, and it has deep roots back to Christ.

ya story pic #14We then found our usher friend, who brought us all back to the sacristy where Fr. Jack vested for Mass.  A nine-year-old altar boy soon brought us to the Altar of Saints Processo and Martiniano, St. Peter’s guards in Rome who converted to the faith.  The first reading at Mass was from Acts 28, which discusses St. Paul’s imprisonment and how he found his way to Rome for his trial, and ultimately death. Saints Peter and Paul in one day, and we haven’t even had breakfast yet!

After a brief siesta at the hotel, we explored nearby St. John the Baptist Church before walking back to St. Peter’s.  Fr. Jack had made plans to meet a dear friend and priest who works at the Vatican for lunch, and Meg and I waited in line to enter the Square for the evening prayer service.  The crowd swelled dramatically as the afternoon went on, and it rained for a few minutes.  Meg and I had general admission tickets, whereas Fr. Jack had a reserved seat near the platform where Pope Francis would address the crowd.  We found great seats in the back of the closest section, near where we expected the Pope to drive by in the pope mobile.  The sun came out as the Square and the neighboring streets started to fill (to a reported 250,000 people!), and musicians and singers entertained us all.  I enjoyed watching the Swiss Guard in their festive costumes, and the Vatican ushers in tuxedos.

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All of the participants in this event were members of various communities and movements.  It was certainly exciting to be a part of a pilgrimage with the universal Church.  Even though I don’t speak any Italian and I didn’t know a soul in the huge crowd, I actually felt at home.  This is Church and I understood the people around me.  That is, we have all been touched by the Spirit, and we’re living our Catholic faith in the Church though the calls of our communities.  And although we were only three members of a relatively small community (at least from the perspective of St. Peter’s in the Vatican), the Spirit within us all made us one.

ya story pic #16The crowd welcomed Pope Francis enthusiastically.  Soon after entering he drove quickly by our spot, and then he spent maybe 15 minutes driving through the rest of the Square and the Via della Conciliazione.  When the Holy Father finally drove past our section on the way to the platform the most remarkable thing happened –  the Pope’s face light up when he saw Meg, as if he had seen an old friend.  That is, while smiling and blessing the large crowd he suddenly changed his expression and granted Meg a special smile, which I believe counts as a special blessing.  Perhaps it was her holiness, or maybe just her wonderful smile, but the Holy Father was clearly glad that Meg came to Rome for a visit!ya story pic #17

The prayer service was very inspiring.  Pope Francis talked for about 40 minutes.  I didn’t understand a word of what he said, but it was very clear to me that he loves his faith and that he takes his role as the Pastor of Rome very seriously.  The largely Italian crowd was very respectful, and the Pope got everyone to chuckle and smile almost as many times as he got them to applaud.  He charmed everyone, even those of us who couldn’t understand what he said.  Love and holiness simply do not need words to be expressed.

After a late dinner, so late we opted to forgo our usual gelato, we made it back just before the hotel closed its gates for the night.  What a day with the Universal Church!

Pentecost Sunday, May 20

Mass at St. Peter’s with Pope Francis was fantastic.  Fr. Jack concelebrated with the Holy Father, along with 250+ other priests and bishops.  Meg and I had fantastic seats very near the altar, about 30 yards from the Pope.  I didn’t have the right ticket to get such a great seat, but Fr. Jack convinced the guards to let me in.  Thanks, Fr. Jack!

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The Mass was largely in Italian, although many prayers were in Latin.  I was shocked how reverent 200,000 plus people can be.  Everyone was prayerfully participating, and I was once again overwhelmed with the experience of belonging to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  I knew my family would be celebrating the same Mass a few hours later, and we would be united in our common prayer.  I knew too that we three members of Youth Apostles were the only ones from our community present, but I understood everyone in Youth Apostles was there in spirit with us.ya story pic #21

There were many highlights I will long remember about the Mass.  Everyone enjoyed seeing a seagull fly around the altar during the opening readings and land on a speaker.  A sign of the Holy Spirit, perhaps?  I especially enjoyed seeing the Holy Father’s joy in receiving the gifts from a lovely Italian family with three young kids, and the pleasure he had in greeting select dignitaries after the Mass.  Fr. Jack was asked to distribute Holy Communion in the Square.  And when the Pope left on the pope mobile after the final blessing and the closing of the Mass, Fr. Jack, Meg and I had the chance to snap some pictures near the Chair of St. Peter.  Meg and I later saw Pope Francis in the pope mobile, where the Roman wind tried to blow his hat off.

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Following Mass we grabbed a quick lunch, did some souvenir shopping, and took a bus back to the train station so we could visit St. Mary Major, one of the four major churches in Rome.  I imagine if you spend enough time in Rome you might take some of the beautiful churches for granted, but I still think it would be hard not to appreciate St. Mary Major.  One Mass was finishing when we arrived, and another started immediately following.  The Faith is certainly alive in Rome.  A kind Dominican stationed at the Church recommended a nearby restaurant (how surprising?), and I celebrated my last night in Rome with more delicious pasta.ya story pic #23

Monday, May 21

We started the day with a brisk walk to St. Peter’s and a Mass at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II, located immediately next to Michelangelo’s Pieta in the Basilica.  What a treat that was, praying near the earthly remains of the Pope who inspired so many young people, including Meg, Fr. Jack and myself, to love Jesus and our faith more and more.  Although I had to leave immediately after Mass to catch a bus to the airport to return home to my family, Meg and Fr. Jack spent another day in Rome.  The next day they left for Poland, where they joined Fr. David Sharland and students from Marymount University for another pilgrimage.

ya story pic #25I remain especially honored to be representing Youth Apostles to the broader Church.  I hope Jesus will grant my prayers, made with great faith at some of the holiest spots in Rome.  May God bless our community, and may we all live with great conviction the charism we have been given!

 

Peace,

Mike Miller

Full Member

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