Rome Travelogue - The Night before the Beatification
and all through Rome every creature IS stirring...
It's electric here tonight! The city has really filled up today.
In the streets we saw processions and high spirits from groups of French, Spanish and Polish pilgrims. They wear their colors and are exuberant.
From the moment we arrived we noticed these signs on posts, poles, trains, buses...everywhere. Rome has been waiting for this and now it's the eve before the beatification.
There are big screen TVs set up around the city. We saw them at St. Maria Maggiore and St. John Lateran.Because Vatican Square can hold 400,000 and 2-5 million are predicted for Pope John Paul II's beatification, these screens are for those who can't fit in the square so they can be outside and still "see" the beatification, broadcast live.
Tonight we felt compelled to be a part of the excitement and see what was happening outside the Vatican. As we imagined, it was alive with anticipation. Over the loud speaker, sound checks. Up in scaffolding, new teams giving live reports. Above in the air, helicopters. Sleeping bags were out, flags were flying, songs were being sung...
Under this American flag, students from University of Dallas.
Nuns, running to the square with sleeping bags...not an uncommon sight. They, ALL are thrilled.
Tomorrow is the day and I truly can' t imagine what it will feel like...look like...will we even get close? My tears are close.
It is so moving.
The picture below is what got me started, emotionally. After days of seeing religious in all sorts of garb fill the streets we knew that this was a special time and place.
It's headquarters... a touchstone.
Coming out of St. John Lateran I saw these two brothers...priests. They were transfixed by the screen which was showing scenes from JPII's legacy and life. As I took pictures of them, my family quietly off to the side, a moment of just me and them....it grew silent and meaningful. Realization came upon me. The moment changed for me and I saw and knew....
They still love him.
Not only him, they love their Church. While they are here it is alive and wonder-filled. It is a grand history, a part of something bigger. I found myself welling up with tears at what is happening here, happens here...when they are all together.
I pray that they can TAKE Rome HOME in their hearts. Stay strong dear religious, there is beauty.
Blessed John Paul II pray for your clergy and religious.