Sunday, April 20, 2008

Today's Mass at Yankee Stadium

No, I did not get to attend the Mass, though what an awesome experience that could have been. We did, however, watch it on TV. Those who were able to attend had been sitting in the stadium since 10am this morning. The "popemobile" came in a little after 2pm and the Mass started around 2:30.

Even watching it on TV was an awesome experience! To see the Holy Father enter Yankee Stadium and wave at all the people and to see the thousands of people there all excited to be celebrating Mass with the Pope was astounding. It was so moving watching the people's reactions as the Pope made his way around the stadium and to the sacristy (which I think was one of the dug outs).

At this Mass they also commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Diocese of Baltimore's elevation to an Archdiocese. In addition the 200th anniversary of four other Dioceses in the U.S.: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown (now Louisville); all four were under the metropolitan of Baltimore at the time, although now all four are archdioceses themselves.

Anyway, During the liturgy of the Word the first reading (from Acts) was in English, the second (from the first letter of Peter) in Spanish, and they chanted the Gospel reading in English. During the Psalm I wasn't paying attention but I think they sung it in a combination of English and Spanish. Later during the Prayers of the Faithful, they had a variety of people come up to give each one and they each read the intention in their own language. I heard English, Spanish, and French for certain. I think there was an African language, some southeast Asian language (I think), and possibly a few others. Again, I think I was not totally paying attention at that point either. Oh, and the Creed was sung in Latin, the universal language of the church.

His Homily was very good. Benedict has addressed the sex scandal in the church from the past few years several times since arriving in the U.S. last week. Actually, he first addressed it enroute to the U.S. He also met with several victims of the scandal while he was here. During his homily he did not bring it up explicitely but he did mention working against scandals in the church, in a general sense. Other than that, one of the first big topics he addressed was protecting the unborn!! He got immediate and enthusiastic applause for that one (presidential candidates take note!). Other than that, he talked a lot about hope, which of course was the main theme of his whole trip: Christ our Hope. Not only that, but as Chris pointed out when the commentor on TV was talking about how much he addresses the issue of Hope ("he's definitely making himself out to be the Pope of Hope"), his most recent encyclical is also on hope. We also laughed at calling Benedict the "Hope Pope!" He addressed young people specifically at one point, talked about vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and about raising children in the faith and parents as strong role models. He also addressed the crowd in Spanish (for which he got more enthusiastic applause). Apparently the Pope is actually more comfortable in Spanish than he is English, which did seem to be the case when he first started speaking in Spanish. I'd like to go find the homily somewhere and read it again, since I'm sure I missed something. I'll be checking the website soon to see if all his talks from this past week are there.

The Eucharistic celebration was very cool. It was so moving to see several couples come forward to present the gifts of bread and wine to the Pope. You could tell that they were overwhelmed by the opportunity they had to be in Pope Benedict's presence. During the actual distribution of communion, the camera focused on the Pope occasionally as he was distributing communion to the faithful and it was so moving. The commentators on the TV even were talking about how at this particular point the Pope is like every other priest, and it was a very humbling experience watching him give the Eucharist to the faithful. Maybe humbling isn't the right word, but hopefully you know what I mean. Oh, and they managed to get communion to all 57,000 people and did it all in about 15-20 minutes!! There were priests everywhere!! Apparently they had done several dress rehearsals for this to make sure they could do it quickly and efficiently while still maintaining the reverence damanded of the Eucharistic celebration.

Although I couldn't be at the Mass in person, it was wonderful to be able to watch it on TV. I was so moved by the whole thing and I started thinking about how cool it would be to attend mass sometime where the Pope was presiding. What an awesome experience it would be. Don't know if I'll ever get that opportunity in my lifetime, but it would be worth it.


  1. I caught the tale end of the Ground Zero ceremony this morning which was quite moving as well.

    The mass at Yankee Stadium reminded me of World Youth Day 1993. We saw the Pope John Paul II at the stadium and then in a huge field for Mass on Sunday. It was quite the experience.

  2. Oh yeah, I forgot about the Ground Zero ceremony. We were at Church at that time but I saw a few moments of it replayed later in the day. Not much and the commentators were talking over it during the clips they showed. But I bet it was very moving!

    Did you go to World Youth Day in 1993?? Was that the one in Toronto? Somehow I thought that was later like around the year 2000?

  3. 1993 was in Denver, Colorado. Nice 24 hour bus ride from Western Kentucky.

    Sorry for not responding earlier, it has been a bit hectic around here.

  4. Hectic? Funny, didn't I just see you this weekend!? :)