Lucia Silecchia: ‘A Heart Full of Gratitude and Hope’
Bidding farewell to this papal visit blog will be bittersweet, just as bidding farewell to Pope Francis was bittersweet last week. Bitter because campus seems so very quiet now! Yet, sweet because a great moment is ours to cherish always.
As I think of Pope Francis’s time here with us, and his celebration of the canonization Mass in our midst, there are many things, some quick snapshots that I will always remember:
The joy of the crowd that grew each minute that the Mass drew closer.
The random meetings with people from so many parts of my life — my parish, my circle of friends, my students, my colleagues, and even my local Dunkin Donuts — all gathered in the same place for the same sacred reason.
The lump that came to my throat when the carillon rang out our joyful expectation.
The remarkable simplicity of the canonization rite.
Hearing “Rejoice in the Lord always …” and realizing that one of my favorite scripture passages, the one I read at my brother’s wedding, was the one I was about to hear proclaimed on yet another special day.
The hymns both familiar and new that praised God in the many ways we strive to capture awe and love in song.
The jubilant laps in the Popemobile and the reverence of the Mass that followed.
The expected smiles of sharing the day with loved ones, and the unexpected tears that came from realizing that there are loved ones with whom I can no longer share great days like this. (Gratefully, tears not captured on the JumboTron.)
And the gift of receiving the Eucharist in that unexplained moment filled with the paradox that the most quiet and intimate moment with God can be in a crowd of thousands.
Were I to write about all these things, this post would be far too long! So, instead, I’ll let the last words be Pope Francis’s. As he prepared to leave the United States, his parting remarks began:
“My days with you have been brief. But they have been days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too. Please know that as I prepare to leave, I do so with a heart full of gratitude and hope.”
Indeed, his days with us were brief. They were days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too. As he prepared to leave, I saw him do so with a heart full of gratitude and hope.
— Lucia Silecchia is vice provost for policy, a professor of law at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, and director of the International Human Rights Summer Law Program in Rome.