First, mid-morning in Denver signals the start of the Stateside church's most high-powered summer gathering: the 129th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, which runs until Thursday.
Beyond bringing together the leadership of the 1.8 million-member fraternal order -- global Catholicism's largest lay group, and one famed for its contributions to myriad aspects of church life -- Knights' Week tends to attract no shortage of top prelates, other ecclesial newsmakers and ad intra media, giving the convention an outsize import well over the roughly 2,500 in attendance.
Led by Archbishop Charles Chaput in his first major turn since being appointed to Philadelphia a fortnight back, the convention's opening Mass begins at 9.30am Mountain time (11.30 Eastern), with the whole of Opening Day slated to be webstreamed by all the usual suspects.
Having returned home for the last time on a government plane said to have been arranged by the White House in tribute, the sendoff for the "Super-Nuncio" -- to be held in the village's main square -- takes place at 4pm local time (10am ET), and will apparently be webstreamed by a local TV outlet. While the local ordinary, Rimini's Bishop Francesco Lambiasi, will celebrate the Mass, the Holy See will be represented by the Vatican's "chief of staff" -- the recently-arrived Sostituto of the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Angelo Becciu.
Following the Mass, Catholic News Service reported that the congregation will walk to the town cemetery for the archbishop's burial.
In the town of 3,000 some 10 miles from Rimini, the coffin of the late "Super-Nuncio" has lain in state since Sunday on the floor of Sogliano's parish church -- the place where the top diplomat spent a month of every summer filling in for the local pastor, so that the priest could get some downtime for himself. Nightly vigils are being held to close each day's wake.
Albeit with Italian audio, here's some footage from on-site:
Earlier today, the previously-reported Memorial Mass for the US bishops and Washington diplomatic corps was formally announced for Noon on 14 September in the "nuncio's cathedral" -- the capital's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
In his capacity as USCCB president, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York will preside at the domestic farewell.
At least, officially -- per usual, the food-tents are already being set up.
While the Days traditionally draw an annual crowd in excess of 70,000 -- and, truth be told, has gotten far more prominent national coverage through secular media as opposed to the Catholic press -- the event's 34th edition is of added note given the devastating hit taken by Joplin, the closest large city to the grounds, where a May tornado killed over 150 people and leveled one of the town's two Catholic churches.
As Joplin's larger bank of hotels tend to be booked solid with Marian Days pilgrims, local reports say the twister's impact is likely to bear out in more campers in the streets joining the thousands of young and old alike who traditionally bunk on the lawns that surround the provincial house of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix, the exiled Vietnamese community of men that began the festival following their settlement at a closed seminary in Carthage in 1978.
The Days are considered the Stateside church's second-largest annual family reunion, after the quarter-million or so who converge on Chicagoland's Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe over the 36 hours surrounding the 12 December feast of Mexico's patroness.
As has been repeatedly noted here over time, the two gatherings aren't just significant and then some for their size, but above all, for the new reality and dramatically changing church they represent.
PHOTOS: Knights of Columbus(1); The Catholic University of America(2); Jack Smith/The Catholic Key(3,4)