Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Oct
  • 10

Bishop greets Pope Francis at audience in Rome

Posted By October 10, 2013 | 12:46 pm | Lead Story #2
Bishop Pope Scan 1WEB

By Tanya Connor

“He just kept smiling and shaking my hands.”
Bishop McManus was describing the greeting Pope Francis gave him when they met for the first time recently.
The pope had a simple request. The bishop agreed to it – for himself and the Diocese.
Bishop McManus said he’d planned the trip to Rome to celebrate his 35th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, which was May 27, before Pope Francis was elected. He was to go with two classmates. When they couldn’t go, he made the two-week trip alone. But there he met people from here.
“September 18 I attended the general audience” with the pope, he said. “The custom is, at the end of the audience, the bishops are brought up to greet him personally.”
He said he was going to speak in Italian, because he wasn’t sure of the pope’s mastery of English. But the only other American bishop there, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, greeted the pope in English, so he did too.
“The Holy Father grabbed my hands,” Bishop McManus said. “The only thing he said to me: ‘Pray for me.’” He said he assured the pope of his prayers and those of the people of the Worcester Diocese.
Bishop McManus said he had also attended a general audience with the two previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They wound through the crowd in their popemobile, but not as extensively as Pope Francis does, he said. Pope Francis stops, greets people, kisses babies, and blesses the sick.
“The enthusiasm of the people, the respect, the love that is poured out at these audiences is amazing,” the bishop said.
“You’re in the presence of the successor of Peter,” he said. It’s a brief encounter, but inspiring. He noted how the pope gives of his time and energy to greet a number of bishops individually.
Bishop McManus said he got to be with Pope Francis again, though not close to him, when he concelebrated Mass with him – and at least six cardinals, 50 bishops and several hundred priests. An estimated 100,000 people attended the Year of Faith celebration for catechetical leaders. The only other American concelebrating was Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, he said.
“What struck me … just like his predecessors, he celebrated the Mass with great devotion and significant periods of silence,” Bishop McManus said. He marveled at being able to hear a pin drop in a such a crowd.
“His preaching style is parish-priest-like,” he said of Pope Francis. He said the pope speaks briefly, making and expounding upon three points.
When Pope Francis reads something that strikes him, he puts the text aside and looks at listeners, he said. Sometimes he asks them questions – and expects answers.
“We’ve received from the Holy Spirit the pope that the Church needs at this time,” Bishop McManus said. “Pope Francis has stepped forward and released a new type of relationship” between the pope and the Catholic community and beyond.
In Rome a Spanish woman asked him, “Have you seen the pope?” he said. He replied that he had, and would see him again. She said she did not get to, so she requested, “Give him a big hug for me.”
“It’s that sort of down-to-earth, affective relationship,” Bishop McManus said.
“He threw the … security for a loop” greeting people outside church after Mass, he said of one of the first Masses Pope Francis celebrated as pope. The bishop said it occurred to him that this is what parish priests do every Sunday.
He said when he met with young priests in the Worcester Diocese he told them, “If you want to find a model for how to be a good parish priest, keep your eyes on the pope.” And, he said, “He certainly is an example to us bishops about how to be a bishop.” In Rome Bishop McManus met with people from here. He said he went to dinner with Msgr. Francis D. Kelly, a Worcester Diocesan priest who is now a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica; Msgr. Michael F. Rose, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury, who is on sabbatical there, and Donato Infante, the diocese’s seminarian there.
He had an unplanned meeting too.
While waiting for a bishop friend he heard, “Bishop McManus! Bishop McManus!” A couple from Rutland was calling him, he said. They introduced him to their friends who used to live in the Diocese.
He missed members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem by about 15 minutes, he said.

 

Leader of Equestrian Order privileged to meet pope

By Tanya Connor

Greeting Pope Francis personally showed John J. Monahan, of Christ the King Parish in Worcester, the Holy Father’s importance. And his own privilege.
As one of the lieutenants for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, he got to meet Pope Francis personally during the order’s audience with him Sept. 13. But other members of the order didn’t.
Mr. Monahan is lieutenant for the Northeastern Lieutenancy in the United States. His wife, Cynthia, its secretary, said he was in Rome for the Sept. 9-12 Consulta, a meeting of the worldwide order’s leaders, which is held every five years. The order works to keep Christians in the Holy Land by supporting institutions there, and members go on pilgrimage there, she said.
Sept. 13-15 they were part of the order’s International Year of Faith Pilgrimage, which brought 3,200 Knights and Ladies to Rome, she said. As part of the pilgrimage, Pope Francis met with the Knights and Ladies in Paul VI Audience Hall, and greeted individually the lieutenants who attended the Consulta.
“I was just watching the line going up there,” Mr. Monahan said of the 51 other lieutenants. “It was their moment, as a layperson” to meet the pope. Perhaps they were preparing what they would say.
As for himself, “I was almost lost for words,” he said. “You’re standing a handshake away.” He said he thanked Pope Francis for having them there and the pope smiled, but he didn’t know if the Holy Father understood what he said.
“It was an experience,” he said. “We can meet the president more than we can meet the pope,” who is so busy. “He actually spent time and was with us for a while.” Those who could communicate with him did so, he said.
Mr. Monahan said he was once in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, about 50 feet away, but didn’t greet him personally. Still, it made a big difference in his life, knowing his respect for the order’s work.
“When you actually shake the man’s hand, you realize how important he is – what’s in front of you is the head of all the Catholics throughout the world,” he said of his experience with Pope Francis. “You don’t realize that ’til you walk away.”
He said he believes Pope Francis is the right person to lead the Church at this time, and he hopes things will continue as they have been going.
Being “face to face, hand to hand” showed him “you need people like the pope,” he said. “What he’s doing is good for the Church.”
Among those greeting the pope was Msgr. Francis D. Kelly, a Worcester diocesan priest who is a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica and is the order’s worldwide spiritual leader, Mr. Monahan said.
Mrs. Monahan said that, at the end of the pilgrimage, members of the Worcester Diocese accompanied her and her husband on an extended pilgrimage in Italy, stopping in Assisi, Padua, Florence and Venice. They were Father D. Timothy O’Mara, pastor of St. Paul Parish in Blackstone; Gloria Hand and her daughter Michele Proctor, and Richard Atkins.