In honor of the 150th anniversary of our college, we had the distinct pleasure of being able to attend a private papal audience in the very room out of which a newly-elected Pope comes when he is chosen by the college of cardinals. It was very moving being so closely present with him. The Holy Father gave a short talk to us and greeted all of us. Most of us got to shake hands with him and kiss his ring, myself included. He was his usual determined, thoughtful, and peaceful self, but he seemed very tired. I don't know if he was ill that morning or if age really is finally starting to catch up to him, but we all noticed it- everyone was commenting on how his energy level seemed a bit low. It was great to get to see him and it was also very nice to get to see and meet some of the visiting bishops and archbishops, as well. Archbishop Dolan was there, and he even paid for drinks and snacks for everyone in our college lounge in the evening. We were most appreciative.
In spite of all the chaos, the spirits in the house really were high during our alumni week. Fathers Richardson and Grondz came into town and we got to spend some good time with them. They cooked dinner for us a couple times and we caught up on how things were for them both and for the diocese. It was a great week for all of us, I think. They seemed to be glad to catch up with old classmates and to just spend a little time in the Eternal City once again.
Here are some of my pictures from the papal audience. Some of them didn't turn out that well, and I didn't dare make myself too obvious for too long, snapping pictures like some dopey tourist. Cardinals and Popes probably don't like being treated like rare zoo animals or national monuments. Though it happens often enough, I prefer not to be marked as having added to it, so if some of the pictures aren't as good as usual, it was probably because they were done as quickly and as inconspicuously as I could make them.
Here was the hall in which we met the Holy Father
I liked the white bow-tie look of the papal MCs (or whatever job they happened to hold)
Here was our rector with all the bishops, archbishops, and cardinals.
This was cool- here is the very window out of which the Pope exits to greet people after his election!
It's a bad picture, but you can kinda see the colonnade outside, to give some perspective of where we were.
This was the window out the other side. Again, another poor picture, but you can kinda make out the image of the Paraclete from over the altar of the chair, revealing that the windows on the right side of the room actually looked out on the inside of St. Peter's Basilica! How cool is that?! I would have gone to the other side to snap this photo, but the Pope was just about to arrive and the guards appeared slightly edgy and I didn't want to die.
Here is Monsignor Checchio, giving an address to the Pope on behalf of the college.
This was one of the works of art adorning the room outside- we were moving, so I couldn't really spend more time in there and capture it all. It is a nice depiction of the Battle of Lepanto, I think.
May the Lord bless our Pope with all the wisdom and guidance, strength and courage he needs to carry out his task as chief shepherd of the Church until the day our Lord calls him home.