To attend and concelebrate Mass with Benedict XVI yesterday was a joy far beyond all the sufferings that led up to it: getting up at four in the morning, stumbling around the New York Palace Hotel in a sea of clergy and religious looking for a place to vest and then waiting around in the Cathedral for two hours before being packed into a pew with a chunk of the Phildadelphia presbyterate.
To see the Pope in person and to be led in the prayer of the Mass by him, to hear the apostolic preaching live, it was all so beautiful. And then to pronounce the Lord's own words of institution with the Holy Father and so to participate in the consecration with the successor of St. Peter himself--it was almost overwhelming.
His words at the end of Mass--and I don't know if this part was on TV or not--were the most touching to me. He said that like St. Peter he was a man with faults and sins, that he was old, and that he needed our prayers if he was to live up to the ministry the Holy Spirit has given him.
There were other mundane details that were also entertaining on the natural level. Mayor Bloomberg thanked Benedict for bringing good weather for Passover.
Posting may be slow this week; today we friars begin our provincial chapter, held every three years for meetings and elections. I'm not sure what kind of connectivity there will be, if any, at the place where we're going. It's the first time when I will have a vote, so pray for me that the Holy Spirit will make known his candidates to me.