This morning I wanted to celebrate the birthday of the Church with the whole Church in a very visible way. I could have gone to the chapel downstairs with the brothers, but being in Rome gave the chance to be a part of the Pentecost Mass celebrated by the pope at St Peters.
By 8.30am when the security checks were opened at the entry to the basilica, the queue extended the full circle of the colonades. Before the Mass began at 10.00am the basilica was filled with people. The pope entered in procession from the rear of the basilica. Certainly at that moment the attention was on him. This was especially highlighted as the choir sang “Tu es Petrus” (you are Peter) as he entered.
At the moment the pope reached the altar the focus shifted. Pope Benedict does nothing to draw attention to himself, and especially not during Mass. The pope begins to incense the altar as the music shifts: the people respond “The Spirit of the Lord fills the whole earth”. Now the focus is not on the pope, but on the Liturgy. While the pope leads this, he seems caught up in the Liturgy, and we all go with him.
This morning at Mass my single intention at this Pentecost Mass was prayer for the people of the parishes of St Therese of Lisieux, Chatham Islands and Our Lady of Victories Sockburn. Please keep me in your prayer.