Greetings to all of you who love the Home of the Mother,
Since we´re in the middle of exams right now, we haven´t had the chance to tell you about the gift we received from the Lord on Pentecost. But now we can tell you all about it!
Two days before Pentecost, we had a rehearsal in the Vatican. Msgr. Guido Marini, who is the Pontifical Master of Ceremonies, began with a beautiful message: ¨The difference between the written Gospel and the life of a saint is the same difference there is between written music and music that is sung. On this feast of Pentecost, we have to ask the Holy Spirit to make our lives a song for the Lord.¨
On Pentecost, we were all ready in the sacristy, when they gave us the sign that the pope was about to arrive; we lined up in front of Michelangelo´s Pietà. Brother Carl was the first in line with the incense. The door opened, and the Holy Father went right up to him to place incense in the thurbile Br. Carl was carrying. Brother Peter washed the pope´s hands, Brother Luke gave him the alb that the pope put on as he read a book in Latin, saying the traditional prayers for a priest as he is getting for mass. Brother Joe gave the pope his cassock. And we left the sacristy in procession right away. As the curtain was drawn up from our make-shift sacristy, and we entered the Pietà Chapel, more candles were lit, and the whole Basilica was alight, trumpets were played, and the choir sang,¨You are Petrus¨.
It was unbelievable. Brother Peter was trembling up until the Gloria was sung; it looked as if he was applauding: ¨Long live the pope!¨
Before the Gospel, we got in line below – but behind – the presbytery during the Pentecost Sunday Sequence, prayed right before the Alleluia. When it was over, the trumpets began to sound and the tubas began to play Alleluia right behind us. We went up the stairs, up to the altar. Brother Carl then knelt down before the Holy Father and the pope placed incense upon the charcoal that was in the censer the brother was carrying. When Brother Carl stood up, it was a sign for Brother José Luis to go up to receive the pope´s blessing, since Brother José Luis was going to sing the gospel. It was a huge grace to receive the pope´s blessing!
¨After that we went back to the altar to pick up the Gospel and we left in solemn procession with candles and incense to the lectern. Even though I pretty much new that day´s gospel by heart since I had read it 3 million times, I still opened up the book and I said to myself: ¨Oh my gosh!¨ However, thanks be to God and thanks to the Novices´ prayers, I was able to sing without any problem and we could all live it with a lot of peace¨, Brother José Luis explained.
Divine Providence entrusted a beautiful task to Brother Peter: he got to accompany the Holy Father with the candelabra, right next to Pope Benedict as he gave communion to the faithful who had been chosen. Br. Peter was able to see up close how Benedict XVI treats the Eucharist: ¨It was a grace to be able to see how he looked at Our Lord in the Eucharist first and then at the people who came up to receive Holy Communion. It was obvious that he looked with faith on Our Lord´s real presence and that he looked at the people who came up with faith, seeing them as members of the Mystical Body of Christ.¨ Brother Peter´s mom and brother were able to see everything back in the USA at 3 o´clock in the morning. They experienced it as a grace for the entire family.
Brother Kevin lived everything with a heart overflowing with pure gratitude.
Br. Rene and Br. José Luis, at the end of the ceremony, were able to talk with the pope in the sacristy. Br. José Luis got to go first, ¨The pope came towards us slowly, since the poor thing is now elderly, looking directly at me as he was walking towards me; the whole situation made me laugh, `What should I do?´ Well, I kissed his ring and I just said two small words: `Thank you!´ And he asked me, ¨Where are you from?¨ `I´m Spanish, Your Holiness.´ So I dared to say more, thanking him for his good example and his generous self giving to the Church and his work, whose testimony has personally made me love the liturgy more. The Holy Father smiled – simple, as always– and transmitted a lot of peace, as he had done throughout the whole ceremony.¨
Br. Rene then said to the pope: ¨Your Holiness, thank you for teaching the Church to receive communion kneeling down and on the tongue; it is a great joy for us since we have the mission of defending the Eucharist.¨ You can see how the pope smiled at him in the picture.
In the sacristy, we were also able to greet Card. Herranz and he told us, ¨Now you´ve seen how the Church trusts you and gives you responsibilities. Look how the Home of the Mother is the Church.¨ He was very glad to see that the Home had taken part in the Vatican liturgical services.
Thank you, everyone, for your prayers. Don´t forget to pray for Br. José Luis who is being ordained on June 23rd!
The Servant Brothers in Rome
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