Lots of excitement felt by all of us today: Mass at the Altar of Blessed John Paul II in St. Peter’s at 7:15am. Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo (“the Toledo in Ohio” he clarified to one of the Curial prefects the other day, distinguishing it from the famous Spanish city).
It was the Feast of St. Blase, so Bp. Blair blessed our throats–a timely sacramental as it turns out: during our morning meeting at the Cong. for Education, the drizzle changed to light flakes of snow. By the time our Audience with the Pope ended shortly
After 1:00pm, it was snowing heavily–a very rare occurrence here in Rome.
Here are Bishop Bernard Hebda of Gaylord and Bishop Frank Reiss after the Papal Audience. There are several more photos on this post, so keep reading!
As we passed the Nativity Scene in St. Peter’s Square (probably due to be dismantled starting tomorrow), Bishop Cepeda remarked that tonight Mexicans would be gathering to end the Christmas Season sharing tamales. Bishop Reiss hoped I would mention that for Poles, too, Christmas — and the family’s Christmas creche, doesn’t come down ’till tomorrow… so, be advised!
Por mis amigos de habla Hispana: al ver el Nacimiento en la Plaza de San Pedro esta noche, el Obispo Cepeda se acordo de que hoy es la Noche del Levantamiento del Nino…y de los tamales proveidos por quien saco al nino de la Rosca de Reyes! Que Linda’s estas costumbres navidenas entre las familias hispanas!
Muchos saludos desde Roma!
Michigan and Ohio bishops head for our conversation on defending our folks’ rights of conscience.
Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo with Archbishop Vigneron as we waited for our audience with the Vatican Secretariat of State.
Bishop Blair giving the blessing of throats here on the Feast of St. Blase.
As we suspected, this morning brought new faces to the Nativity creche in St. Peter’s Square: the work crew sent to dismantle it. With the year-round program of celebrations here, these Vatican employees work incredibly hard.
Detroit seminarian Jim Grua took this picture of me as we left. After taking a picture with us and receiving Detroit’s Spiritual Bouquet, the Holy Father gave each Bishop a personal gift–several blessed Rosaries and a Pectoral Cross. I passed along several personal letters from two altar servers at St. Stephen/Mary, Mother of the Church to one of the Holy Father’s personal secretaries.
Here is the mentioned pectoral cross given to each of us by Pope Benedict.