ATE SEPTEMBER was a grace-filled time here in Philadelphia. A visit from the Holy Father to our country is rare, but his presence in our own city was extraordinary. I have spoken with hundreds of people in the two weeks since the events, and, by all accounts, the World Meeting of Families 2015 was a grand success. Coupled with the papal visit over the weekend, it was a great week to be a Philadelphian and to be a Catholic. Many people to whom I have spoken have described the week as “electrifying” or “energizing” or “refreshing.”
Mass was offered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center each day as part of the World Meeting of Families Congress. His Holiness celebrated Masses on Saturday morning at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul and on Sunday afternoon on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. These Masses required a team of priests to serve as masters of ceremonies. As part of that team, I would like to share some of the experience with you.
Next Sunday, I will post a summary of Msgr. Marini’s remarks to the servers before Mass. This week, I will share with you a few behind-the-scenes photos.
First, you will see the golf cart used to transport the Holy Father during his stay at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary; the cathedral altar set up with a 7th candle; and the vestments laid out in our cathedral sacristy for the Saturday morning Mass:
Below is a photo of the long, vaulted hallway in the Philadelphia Museum of Art that served as the vesting area for concelebrating priests; a look at Archbishop Chaput’s birthday cake, which was on display in the papal vesting room on the Parkway; and a couple of backstage views; There is also a photo of what Pope Francis would have seen from his chair behind the altar:
A few photos of the seminarian servers with the papal MCs; a photo of the choir rehearsing with David Kimock, conducting from a lift:
For overseas trips, it is apparently customary for the Vatican to produce a special missal for the Holy Father to use throughout the Apostolic journey. The missal contains all the texts for the liturgies during the trip and nothing else. Inside the missal for this visit to Cuba and the USA, you can see the title page, the start of the canon (which was prayed in Latin at both Masses in Philadelphia), and a reading in Vietnamese:
The Holy Father’s Fiat exiting the sacristy area en route to the airport and departure for Rome; a pizza shop near the seminary (affectionately known as “Padre Pio Pizza,” on account of the religious décor) produced commemorative papal pizza boxes:
Philadelphia is a place filled with history, art, and unusual doses of civic pride. It is also a place filled with great love for our Holy Father. We are deeply grateful for the visit of Pope Francis, who brought the ministry of Peter into our midst.
Next week, I will post an inside account of Msgr. Marini’s last words to the servers before the papal Masses on Saturday & Sunday of the World Meeting of Families week.