April 7 marked our first anniversary since being received into the Church, and what a great way to celebrate what has been perhaps the most significant year of our lives. Pope Benedict played a not-insignificant role in my conversion, after all, as I alluded to in my conversion story:
One of the defining moments for me in this journey was the day that the white smoke appeared from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel a little over a week after John Paul II’s death. When then-Cardinal Ratzinger appeared on the balcony a few minutes later, I knew beyond doubt this is a church that is not captured by the spirit of the age. I had read enough of the current Pope’s writings to know then that the Church would be in good hands, and I think I knew even then that I would not remain a protestant much longer.
Since then, I have come to admire this man even more, and his visit to the
Back to the Papal Mass: I was impressed by many things, not the least by the sheer size of the event. Hats off to the organizers for pulling off the feat of serving Communion to that many people and ending on schedule. It was also encouraging to see the vast numbers of young Catholics who are evidently enthusiastic about their faith. The legacy of JPII lives on, I think.
The Pope's homily continued, as expected, the theme of his visit, "Christ Our Hope." He noted that "Americans have always been a people of hope," from the very beginning. He encouraged us to build on that legacy and to meet today's challenges with the hope found in God's love. He said that he had come here to proclaim Christ's resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. That same Spirit, he said, calls us now to constant conversion as we work to renew the Church in the
Perhaps the one sour note of the mass (please pardon the pun) was the music. Much has been written on the subject already in the Catholic blogosphere. It certainly leaned rather heavily toward the let's-celebrate-us variety of liturgical music, including a heavy dose of multilingual and multicultural mush. There were occasional periods of relief--Mozart's Ave Verum, for instance, or Veni Creator Spiritus. All in all, it was rather embarrassing, especially given all the Holy Father has written and said on the subject over the years. I understand that the services in
Please feel free to comment with your impressions of this event – or other aspects of the papal visit – whether you attended or not.