Lucia Silecchia: Remembering Simple, Joyful, Unexpected, Grace-filled Moments
As I think of Pope Francis’s visit, there are some quick snapshots that I will always remember:
- The joy of the crowd that grew each minute Mass drew closer.
- Meeting people from scattered parts of my life — my parish, my friends, my students, my colleagues, even my Dunkin Donuts! — gathered together for the same sacred reason.
- The lump in 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 passages, one I read at my brother’s wedding, was about to be proclaimed on another special day.
- Hymns — familiar and new — that praised God in the many ways we capture awe and love in song.
- Jubilant laps in the Popemobile followed by the reverence of the Mass.
- The expected smiles of sharing the day with lovedones, and the unexpected tears that sprung from knowing there are loved ones with whom I can no longer share great days like this.
- And the gift of receiving the Eucharist amidst the paradox that the most intimate moment with God can be among thousands.
As Pope Francis left for Rome, he said:
“My days with you have been brief. But they have been days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too… [A]s 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 watched 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.