As you can well imagine, after getting to talk with the Holy Father, we cannot stop giving thanks to God.
The day before Corpus Christi (which is celebrated in the Vatican on Thursday, as originally practiced), Sr. Sara Maria and Sr. Caitlin went to the rehearsal that took place at St. John Lateran, where the Corpus Christi mass was going to take place the next day.
Msgr. Guido Marini, the Pontifical Master of Ceremonies, directed a few words to all of us that were going to participate in the ceremony. Those of us who were going to bring up the gifts practiced the three bows we had to make: one before the altar, another before going up the steps in front of the pope, and the last one towards the pope before heading down the steps. We were told two things: that we couldn´t make a speech to the pope when we talked to him and we couldn´t fall down the stairs.
Later on, Msgr. Marini came up to talk to our group. He explained how the offertory was not just an external act, but that we had to offer up our lives to God along with the gits and that the Lord was then going to transform us. He also told us that it was going to be very exciting to be able to talk directly to the Holy Father, yet we shouldn´t look only at our feelings and emotions, but we had to make an act of faith, believing that Pope Benedict is really the successor of St. Peter.
The long-awaited day arrived. The four sisters in the community here in Rome went together to St. John Lateran Basilica in bus and once we got there, we got into the well-known lines.
When the time came for those who were part of the liturgical ceremony to enter, we went with the rest of our group into the basilica through the back way.
We nervously practiced what we wanted to say to the Holy Father and, of course, we prayed for the Servant Sisters, the Holy Father, and for the Home of the Mother.
It was a beautiful moment when we brought up the gifts. We got to be the first ones to go up. They gave us a large ciborium, which Sr. Caitlin carried up, and the paten with the big host, which Sr. Sara Maria brought up. Being able to bring up the hosts was a beautiful gesture for us, because when we make our vows (which we will renew soon, God willing), we bring up hosts during the offertory, symbolic of how we are offering lives and our very selves to God. The procession we made with the gifts up to the pope was quite moving.
We arrived before the pope...and it´s an experience that´s hard to describe, but it seemed as if everything else disappeared; all else around us faded away and we could only see the pope´s face, which was right up close, literally face to face.
We had planned everything we wanted to say: Sr. Caitlin started by saying, ¨Holy Father¨, but then he began to ask us questions. We think he asked who we were and Sr. Caitlin responded, ¨We´re the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother from Spain.¨ He repeated, ¨Ah, Spagna.¨ He asked us to repeat the name again, and sister repeated that we were the Servant Sisters. Then he addressed Sr. Sara Maria. She wanted to tell him that we love him a lot and that we always pray for him, but he asked her first, ¨Where are you both from?¨ She responded, ¨I´m from Ecuador, but the Servant Sisters are from Spain.¨ Then the Holy Father gave each of us a blessing on our foreheads and Sr. Caitlin thanked him. And we left.
To finish it all, one of the highlights of the night was the traditional Corpus Christi procession from St. John Lateran to St. Mary Major, and we were lucky enough to be right by the Blessed Sacrament and the pope during the entire procession.
It was an enormous grace for both of us and for all the Servant Sisters.
Thank you for your prayers!
If you want to see the mass, you can click on the link below:
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