Saturday, November 23, 2013

"We Have Something in Common: The Desire for God"

On this vigil of the "culmination" of the Year of Faith, the Pope again broke precedent to preside at a reception of catechumens – adults who seek to be baptized – in St Peter's. (While a papal embrace into the catechumenate is new, the Bishop of Rome traditionally christens infants on early January's feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and receives adults into full communion at the Easter Vigil.)

Even for those who don't speak Italian, per usual for these days, tonight's visuals do the trick:

"You come from many different countries, from different cultural traditions and experiences," Francis told the group. "Yet tonight we feel we have many things in common among us. We have one in particular: the desire for God."

The 14 month observance's closing rites in the Square to begin at 10.30 Rome tomorrow, the liturgy will include three unique, significant moments.

First, before the Mass begins, a special freewill offering will be taken up for the suffering Church in the Philippines in the catastrophic wake of Super-Typhoon Yolanda. (Note: For all the panoply of the place, one thing the Home Office doesn't do is collections at Masses... at least, until now.)

Then, echoing the last days of Vatican II, Papa Bergoglio will symbolically entrust his first solo magisterial document – set for public release early Tuesday – to a representative group...

...and lastly, for the first time ever, the small, fragmented relics believed to be the bones of St Peter will be exposed.

Big day? Well, you better believe it.

PHOTO: Reuters