Looking back on a whirlwind weekend | Canonizations 2014
Our time in Rome has ended and we’re back on US time already. Looking back on our time is pretty surreal. From the moment we landed in Rome, you could feel the energy of the city, carried over from Easter celebrations straight through the canonizations of Saints John Paul II and John XXIII.
After landing, we really hit the ground running - well - jogging. We took time to shower before starting! Then, we went straight to the Vatican to see how preparations were going. And what a stroke of luck! While we were there we just happened to run in to Cardinal Seán O’Malley. We were scheduled to interview him on Saturday, but it was such a treat being able to meet and talk to him before the Canonizations. We spent the rest of our day filming and talking to people who had traveled from all over for the event, and the number of people was growing by the minute. As the evening approached, it was time for us to taste some of that delicious Italian food.
Friday turned out to be a very full day. After a quick breakfast, we headed back to the Vatican. I couldn’t believe how many more people there were in just one day’s time. Just walking through Saint Peter’s Square, I easily heard around 15 different languages and saw flags I had never seen before. Throughout the day we would see and hear groups and peo
After spending the afternoon at the Vatican, we attended and filmed Mass at Cardinal O’Malley’s parish in Rome, Santa Maria della Victoria. It was not only a beautiful Mass, but also a beautiful parish. We were able to meet and interview seminarians from the Boston area! They had traveled to witness the canonization of their patron, John the XXIII. It was also their seminary’s 50th anniversary year! The timing was nothing short of wonderful.ple singing, dancing, and playing instruments they had brought with them. Even if you didn’t understand the language being sung, you were not only invited, but also encouraged to join. It was a type of energy I can’t recall ever seeing before.
Saturday was slightly less busy. We met Cardinal O’Malley in the early afternoon for our one-on-one interview. We met at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, a beautiful setting with flowers already in bloom. Luckily the rain held off!
Walking around Rome that afternoon, one of the most common sights was people with backpacks and sleeping bags or mats. After an early dinner that night we walk around through some of the streets. Crowds were gearing up to sleep in the many piazzas surrounding the Vatican. Tomorrow was going to be a very early day. It seemed like as soon as I feel asleep it was time to wake up. We arrived at the Vatican around 4 am and I can honestly say I have never seen that many cheery faces so early in the morning. For the people waiting in line, excitement is an understatement.
Experiencing the dual canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II more than lived up to my expectations. It was quite literally awe-inspiring. The unity and reverence expressed by the thousands of people present, and from so many different countries, was beyond words. It was truly a once in a lifetime event.