From Brendan Johnson’s journal:
June 11, 2010
Today we had the Mass for the end of the Year of the Priest and it was an amazing sight! There were about 15,000 priests concelebrating with the pope, and thousands of other people besides – when the priests walked out after vesting, it took about an hour and a half for them to completely get out and fill up all of the seats and they arrived in very steady streams down the paths in St. Peter’s Square.
Again, the homily was in Italian, so we couldn’t understand everything that was said, but there were some good responses from those who could, so I’m excited about reading the homily when I get a chance. The only thing that was a little disappointing about the Mass was the number of people who randomly walked in and out of the section we were in. I think that more than a few of them thought that it was just a tourist attraction to watch the Catholics perform their rituals. I’m glad that they were able to stumble in and at least in a small way participate in the Mass – but it was surely heartbreaking to watch them in their ignorance.
After the Mass the pope drove right by where we were standing again and we were able to see him up close again, which was pretty neat. After the Mass we went for lunch at Santa Croce and then I went for an afternoon siesta (sometimes the Italians have great ideas!). After dinner we had a bit of a party for Fr. Heisler who was, unfortunately, leaving us to go back to the States to attend a conference for seminarian formators. It was a good time though – and a lot of good conversation.