June 21, 2010
From Brendan Johnson’s journal: June 10, 2010
Today was the vigil for the end of the Year of the Priest, so we went over to St. Peter’s at about 5 pm to try to get in as close as we could to see the Pope. We were able to get in the very front of the seminarian section and to see pretty well the stand where the presentations were and, eventually, where the pope was to be. He didn’t come in until about 9:30 but there were talks starting at about 8:30 pm.
The talks, I’m sure, were very good, but only a few of them were in English so I didn’t catch much of what was said. At 9:30 pm when the pope came in, he drove right by where we were standing, so I was about ten feet away from him as he drove around before approaching the altar. There, he answered questions from priests from all over the world. He answered in Italian, so again, I didn’t understand anything, but it was still really neat to have him answering these questions — and without his notes, too.
After the Q & A, the Blessed Sacrament was brought in, and the pope presided over Adoration and Benediction, which was incredible! Everyone went down on their knees in St. Peter’s Square and went completely silent to receive Benediction. After Benediction ended, we got back to Fraterna Domus (late), but the sisters let us in so that we could go to bed for a few hours to get back up for the Mass the next morning.
June 19, 2010
This is from seminarian Thomas Haan:
Pope Benedict XVI rides through St. Peter's Square on vigl of the Sacred Heart, 2010
On the evening of Thursday, June 10, we gathered in St. Peter’s Square for adoration and Benediction with the Holy Father. This moving experience on the vigil of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, combined with his session of questions and answers, made for an incredible night. This picture is of Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived in St. Peter’s Square that night.
May 10, 2010
Thursday, Day 18: Rome
Since Bishop Morlino was unable to give the morning lectures, I gave two 45-minute lectures on Love and Responsibility. That evening, some of the men left at 5 PM so they could participate in the Corpus Christi procession and Mass at St. John Lateran.* They did not have tickets but, through the intercession of Our Lady, they all got in anyway and participated well. The rest of us had an early dinner, then stationed ourselves just outside St. John Lateran on the Via Merulana. The procession was very beautiful, and those who followed it to the end received Our Lord’s benediction through the Holy Father and were home by 11.
Rome Experience seminarians taking part in the Corpus Christi procession outside St. John Lateran Basilica, Rome
April 11, 2010
Thursday, Day 4: Florence/Norcia.
The first full day of the retreat went smoothly enough. The conferences were all in the chapel of San Antonio except for the morning conference, which would have conflicted with the nuns’ morning prayers. Perhaps next year we could talk the monks into the opening up the church for us at 7:15 so we could have our morning prayer and meditation in the crypt following Mass. The schedule is as follows: 7:00 Lauds in the conference room, followed by meditation. We then walk to the monastery for Mass in the crypt at 8:00. We all then walk back and have a simply continental buffet breakfast at each one’s leisure. 10 AM begins confessions in the convent chapel. 11:30 is another meditation followed by the Regina Caeli. 1 PM is lunch, followed by a Rosary in the enclosed garden. Free time then goes from 2:30 until 6:30 PM, when there is Eucharistic adoration with Benediction at 7:30 in the convent chapel. The Holy Hour includes evening prayer and meditation. Dinner is at 7:45 . (The sisters prefer dinner at 8, but 7:45 is ok.) At 9, there is a talk in the conference room, followed by night prayer. The sisters say they are building a chapel, so that might make things easier in the future.