Tuesday, May 3, 2011

John Paul II Beatification Party

I was invited to a Pope John Paul II beatification party on Saturday in Queens. Members of my family were a bit amused when I mentioned on Easter Sunday that I would attend the party. A party to celebrate the beatification of a pope? They had never heard of such a thing! Well, it was a first for me too. It turned out to be a fun day. It was good to socialize, converse and at the same time watch EWTN's coverage of the evening prayer service vigil which was taking place at the Circus Maximus in Rome. The front of the house in Queens Village, where the party took place, had a huge papal banner hanging on it. Apparently, the neighbors had some questions about it. I thought there might be some trivia questions about the late pope, so I studied alittle, but no one asked any questions.
There was a interesting mix of people: religious and laypeople. The hosts were most gracious and are well known in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Since I didn't ask their permission to mention their names I won't, but they are the best of the best, a wonderful couple, who live their faith and are fans of JP II.
There were huge crowds in Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Approximately 1.5 million people filled St. Peter's Square and the surrounding streets in Vatican City for the Mass. In his homily, Pope Benedict said, "Six years ago we gathered in this Square to celebrate the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Our grief at his loss was deep, but even greater was our sense of an immense grace which embraced Rome and the whole world: a grace which was in some way the fruit of my beloved predecessor's entire life and especially of his witness in suffering. Suffering and grace, grace and witness, holiness bearing fruit even in death......"
"Holiness bearing fruit even in death........" an interesting statement. In the lives of many saints, their grace and gifts continue to be a blessing to humankind even after their death. That was very evident in the life of St. Therese of Lisieux.
It seems the entire weekend was filled with grace. Sunday, as most know was Divine Mercy Sunday as well. I went to a beautiful service in my parish. And then later that night I waited with everyone else to listen to the important and unexpected presidential message. I watched and listened and hoped. I like everyone else was amazed at what I heard. I read this morning that Vice President Joe Biden was either praying the rosary or holding a rosary, while events unfolded in Pakistan in real time, that would change the world. I pray the world is a better place. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end of terrorism and a time of peace and common sense will prevail......Hope springs eternal.