All the Roman Pontifical schools have begun their two week vacation in observance of Holy Week and the Easter Octave. These are good days for final preparations in Lent as well as catch-up on studies and reading.
Last night the Holy Father celebrated Mass on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death. The crowd was quite large and seats were scarce. Many young people had traveled to pray and to visit the tomb. A large Polish contingent seemed present as well. Some had speculated that the Holy Father would announce a date for the beatification of John Paul, but it did not happen.
At the end of Mass the Holy Father processed to John Paul II's tomb while the schola sang:
Totus tuus sum, Maria, Mater nostri Redemptoris, Virgo Dei, Virgo pia, Mater mundi Salvatoris.
Afterwards, a few priests and I grabbed dinner on the Borgo Pio at what might now be a new favorite of mine and raised a glass in honor of the late pontiff, thankful for his witness to the Gospel as the Light of the World.
I and two other priest friends will travel tomorrow to the Monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia, the hometown of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. We will spend five days on retreat, returning in time for the Triduum liturgy here in Rome. I will spend the Triduum itself with the Holy Father, assisting in the distribution of Holy Communion. I look forward to these holy days immensely.
I will keep family and friends in prayer during these days.