On the left the Gospel of Luke with the picture of Pope Francis. It was given out last night at Evening Prayer at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. On the right was my ticket.
In my last blog post I mentioned that even I couldn't get a ticket to see Pope Francis in Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Evening prayer took place on September 24, 2015 and I received a ticket on the 23rd. I jumped with excitement. I was in the Lady Chapel. I incorrectly thought that these seats were not good as we would not be able to see the Pope well. I was completely wrong these were the best seats in the house. I arrived at about 2 pm and waited with many others. I knew many of those who were waiting. Once we were allowed in the Cathedral I met some of my priest friends and then I sat in the chapel for a few hours waiting for the pope. My mind was on my parishioners who were outside. I hoped the pope would not come into the Cathedral too quickly so that they can see the pope! Some were waiting since about noon and it was already about 6:30pm! Fortunately my people saw the pope! The atmosphere in the Cathedral was one of excitement when Pope Francis entered. Someone gave him roses and he put them in front of the Pieta. What a beautiful reminder for us to go to our Mother! Then the most amazing thing happened he knelt in front of a tabernacle which had Jesus reserved inside. I had been near that tabernacle for hours but since it is usually not used and there were many people I didn't notice he was there. Had I noticed I would have spent my time in waiting there. What a great reminder for us to go to Jesus. He knelt for a short while. This was visible from the chapel where I was! Many stood up to see him from about 15 feet. He then went into another chapel and was vested for Evening Prayer. I enjoyed the excitement in the faces of the people behind me as I pointed out to them where the pope was seating. He was very far away from us but he was visible. Evening prayer was awesome as it was sung! I love singing evening prayer! The Choir of Saint Patrick's Cathedral was singing which made the prayerful experience even better! When the pope spoke he began by addressing the Muslims who suffered death and tragedy at Mecca yesterday during a stampede. I thought this was a beautiful gesture. The Pope spoke in Spanish so it was great to hear him speak in a language I understand. There was an english translation on tv screens for people to follow. It was infinitely better to hear him speak and understand. He challenged us priests! He spoke about our time off and how we can spend more time off helping the needy. He mentioned that it is not good to defend our time off although time for rest is needed. He also spoke about how the fruits of our labor are not always visible. He said "from a human point of view, Jesus ministry ended in failure on the cross." Boy did I need to hear that one! Thank you Pope Francis! After evening prayer the pope unvested and went into the Cardinal's residence. He then came back out and I was able to see him from about 25 feet. Seeing the Pope was exciting but I realized in my own life that I should be as excited to see Jesus. Unfortunately we priests are used to being near Jesus all the time so we lose that excitement. Pray for us priests!
If anyone has extra tickets to Central Park or MSG please text me. I have a long list of parishioners who would like to see Pope Francis! My public number is (845) 204 -8981 Please do not call or text to ask for tickets as I do not have any.