Sorry I haven’t written recently. My first exam – Pastoral Theology – was Wednesday, and it went miraculously well.
With all the studies it’s been harder to keep tabs on Pope Francis. Last Sunday he said mass for a packed crowd of 200,000, and the Sunday before that he made 802 new saints, the most ever in one ceremony. 800 of the saints were the martyrs of Otranto, in southern Italy, who gave their lives rather than deny their faith during a Turkish invasion. The other two saints were a Mexican and the first saint from Columbia. With all the Spanish speakers present, Francis broke down and spoke his native language again. Good for him! 802 saints is also a new world record for most saints ever.
If all goes well, I’ll be ordained a deacon on June 29th, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. From now until then I will be preparing for final exams, taking care of last minute details, and going on an eight-day silent retreat in preparation for ordination. With studies over, I will be heading over to the US sometime between July and August to begin my assignment, first as a deacon, and later as a priest.
|Looking in the window of the religious goods store where I got measured for my alb|
I’d like to keep sending you cobblestones messages, but this time with a focus on becoming a deacon. It’s already pretty interesting. On Wednesday we had a class on what a deacon can and can’t do. We learned how to tie a “cincture”, the cord you wear around your waist. On Thursday I went over to “Barbiconi”, one of Rome’s myriad religious goods stores to be measured for my “alb”, the white garment you wear underneath the cincture. Tomorrow I’m going with my whole ordination class (about 30 guys) to Spoleto, near Assisi, to have lunch with Archbishop Renato Boccardo, who will be ordaining us deacons. I had said a special prayer a few weeks ago that we’d get to meet him before the ordination, and… God is good!
|Last week my class went to visit Maria Goretti's house - it was beautiful!|
If I don’t write, it means I’m studying theology (or playing soccer!). Please say a prayer for me and my fellow deacons-to-be as we approach this last month of preparation. It’s been 19 years, and everything seems to be converging on this one moment. I promise to keep you in my prayers.
God bless you,