Saturday, October 05, 2013

"Francis, Go and Rebuild My House"

Even if it'll take a while to assemble the six, mostly-freewheeling talks in English, the images are already indelible... and there, the language is universal.

Perhaps most remarkably of all, though, only in the last 24 hours did it emerge that – despite becoming the first Roman pontiff to take the name of the town's favorite son – only yesterday did Jorge Bergoglio make his first-ever trip to Assisi. While it's true in general that you haven't really lived until you've been up that hill, it's even more the case that one can't truly be Pope Francis without experiencing the place. Going forward, how it resonates in his Petrine ministry will be worth watching.

To round out the general look and huge emotion of a memorable day – a 13-hour marathon that ran long enough for Francis to break his usual form and sit during his later speeches – following are the last set of videos in chronological order....

First, a cathedral meeting with representatives of the diocese (Pope arrives at 14-minute mark), followed by the day's spiritual high-point – Francis' veneration of the original San Damiano cross at Santa Chiara, joined by the basilica's resident community of cloistered nuns:

And lastly, downhill at S. Maria degli Angeli, a visit to the original Portiuncula followed by a gathering and Q&A with 50,000 young people in the mammoth piazza outside:

All that said, given the confluence of the feast of the Patron of Animals, the history of 1986 – and to be sure, the mood of the moment in some quarters – that the Catholic conversation (well, what passes for it) got through yesterday and its entire run-up without a single mention of chickens is a rather startling (and just as rare) achievement.

Then again, that might not so much be a Franciscan miracle as simply the manifestation of an ever-increasing lack of memory born of worldliness, to which – 800 years after the original Francis – Assisi stands the enduring counterpoint.

And lastly, for those marking your Simplicity Scorecards at home, it bears noting that while B16 rode the train and a minibus 
on the last papal pilgrimage to the Poverello's place – even if it was in the context of an interfaith gathering yesterday saw the employment of the Popemobile and Papacopter as his successor's means of transport.