Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Buona Festa di San Pietro e San Paolo!

It is my great joy to wish all of you a very blessed Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul!!! I pray that through the intercession of these great Apostles of Rome, you are drawn ever closer to the heart of Christ!

This feast day is especially dear to me—it was on this feast day last year that I received the affirming conviction that I was going to Rome for the semester. Of course, before then, I had applied for two programs there (neither of which I ended up doing—the Lord saved the best for last, as He tends to do!), and I visited Rome with my friends the previous April, so I had the idea of going for a semester. But I knew that Rome was where I was supposed to be on this feast day. I was reading a blog that day (can’t remember for the life of me which one it was…I would guess newliturgicalmovement.org, but it's really not important which exact blog it was...), and it had pictures of the Papal Mass and First Vespers for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. I was hooked—I experienced such a longing to go and experience Rome more deeply at that point that I knew the Lord must be calling me there.

What a joy to be able to look back on that blessed day! One year later, I thank the Apostles of Rome for their intercession, because I know that they were praying for me, and they continue to do so. Sts. Peter and Paul guided me through the semester, allowing me see Our Lord more clearly, and also to learn more what it means to be one of His followers. I look at the pictures of the Papal events this year with a serene delight and gratitude for having been able to experience so much in the Eternal City.

When I see these pictures now, I am also amazed at the humility of one man whom I had the immense pleasure to meet while I was in Rome. This man is the Papal Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini. When he came to our house on the Feast of St. Philip Neri (another one of my dear spiritual fathers in Rome), I was struck by his joy, his humility and meekness, and his consideration of others. He had no problem posing for pictures with us, offering us blessings (including Chris’s whole family!), and simply spending time with us at our house. In fact, when his cab came to pick him up, while Fr. Carola was trying to usher him out of the door, he did not appear to be in any rush, and took the time to shake the hand and thank each and every person standing in the room. He was very soft-spoken, gentle, and joyful, but firm and clear in his answers to our questions (in Italian, translated into English by Fr. Carola). He spoke so eloquently about the Liturgy, and it was very edifying to see his example as a faithful priest of the Lord.

Msgr. Marini (on the right) handing the new Bishops' palliums to the Pope.

(Image from daylife.com)

But I was struck once again by his example today as I came across pictures of this year’s Mass. I mean, think about what his duties are. His job is to organize and run the Papal Masses, to make sure that they operate without a hitch. And yet, when the crowd begins to cheer and take pictures and clamor towards the center aisle, they rush to see the Holy Father, not Msgr. Marini. But I’ve noticed as I look back at my own pictures and see professional pictures of papal events, Msgr. Marini is always there, just in the background, dutifully serving the Lord. What an example to all of us! He works diligently at the task which the Lord has entrusted to him, yet asks for no applause. Is this not the vocation of every Christian, to work with the Lord in the segment of the vineyard which He has given to us to tend, and all the while asking for no praise for our efforts? After all, it is St. Paul himself who teaches us that “He must increase, I must decrease.” I think that we have an excellent example of this in Msgr. Marini, and I know I, for one, would do well to follow his example. In this, he imitates the very Princes of Rome whom we celebrate today, who gave up their lives for the sake of the Gospel, who preferred even death to abandoning our Lord and worked diligently to bring others to Christ.

Again, a very blessed Feast Day to you all, especially to all of you with whom I was privileged to share some part of the Eternal City! May God bless you all through their intercession!

“O Roma felix, quæ duorum Principum
Es consecrata glorioso ceteras
Horum cruore purpurata ceteras
Excellis orbis una pulchritudines.”

“O happy Rome! Who in thy martyr princes’ blood,
A twofold stream, art washed and doubly sanctified.
All earthly beauty thou alone outshinest far,
Empurpled by their ourpoured life-blood’s glorious tide.”
posted by Kristin @ 10:59 AM  

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Name: Kristin
Home: Pittsburgh, PA, United States
About Me: Seeking my true Fatherland as I travel this spiritual journey with Our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope, with the help of God, to follow in the example of the saints and strive for holiness.
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