Before I write about this past weekend, let me share some good news. First, I discovered today that I did indeed pass the Italian Proficiency Exam. After a weekend of not sleeping or eating well, this is grand news indeed. I was also able to clarify and firm-up the specifics of how my MA will be applied to the SLL degree here. As hoped, I am able to complete it in one year. Again, this is just great news and it is nice to have it all confirmed and official. In addition, I learned that I will be able to take Latin in the morning but then also take Fr. Foster's Latin class twice a week in the afternoon. This should be a great experience and one I look forward to immensely.
Thanks for all the prayers and words of support. They are all greatly appreciated.
So, Sunday morning the Holy Father celebrated Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. I was fortunate enough to assist with the distribution of Holy Communion. We entered a side door where various buses full of prelates also arrived. I kept walking only to be tapped on the shoulder by a Swiss Guard who pointed to another door for priest assistants. My bad.
I was one of the few religious priests assisting, so while most of the priests wore cassock, suprlice, and stole, I wore cassock, surplice, cape, stole. If you happen to catch the Mass on CTV or EWTN I am the only priest with the black cape. Before Mass Msgr. Guido Marini was making his last minute check to make sure everything was in order. And no, he didn't say hello when he walked past me.
At the preparation of the altar we priests were handed a ciborium of hosts to hold during the consecration. My spot was very near the Paschal Candle stand located on the front-right side of the altar, opposite the ambo. It was powerful to be so near the Holy Father as he celebrated Mass. Cardinal DiNardo was directly in front of me in my line of sight. His Holiness prayed Eucharist Prayer III, which is telling.
During the fraction rite we priests were lead to our communion stations. I was at the head of the main isle just in front of the Swiss Guard posted there. We then distributed communion in Latin to the people.
The liturgy and music were beautiful. The worship aid contained multiple beautiful prints of the St. John's Bible. The procession began with a sung Litany of Saints. It ended precisely when the Holy Father was at his chair. Quite impressive. I also noticed how the Swiss Guards kneal during the consecration. However, the security in civilian suits did not.
Even though my camera fit quite well in my habit pocket, I was high and mighty and told myself not to take photos during Mass. I regret that a bit. The one to the right is the only photo I took, after we had divested and were waiting by the back door as the procession came to an end. If I get photos from other priests who weren't "high and mighty" and actually took photos, I'll share those.