As I stated last weekend in my homilies, I’ve decided to lead any parishioners who want to make the pilgrimage to Philadelphia to see the Pope for the World Meeting of Families. In conversation with a couple of parishioners, I became convinced that this can be a great opportunity, even a life-changing experience for those who otherwise would not ever get to see the Pope. It’s not every day you have a chance to see the Pope–and so close by.
Given the fact that hotel rooms in Philadelphia filled up almost immediately after it was announced that the Pope would indeed attend, the best way for a group of parishioners to attend will be to join the diocesan program already being planned, with buses and hotel rooms already reserved. The diocesan plan has us taking a bus to Philadelphia on Thursday, September 24, and then returning Monday, September 28. I realize this means people will have to take three days off work, but this was the option for the shortest stay (The diocese has planned a weeklong option as well). Saturday and Sunday will be devoted to two meetings with the Pope. Thursday and Monday are travel days. Although it has not been published exactly what the meetings with the Pope will be, it will most likely be a Saturday afternoon/evening vigil service of prayer, with some question-and-answer time, and an address from the Pope. Then Sunday morning/afternoon would be the culmination of the encounter–the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the Pope. This arrangement is pretty standard for such papal gatherings. The overall occasion is to celebrate God’s beautiful design of the family.
The cost for a family to attend is relatively quite reasonable. Check out the flyers in the vestibules, or the website of the Diocese for prices. There will be one scholarship given out in the deanery, for which any family can apply. That information is on the diocesan website. But even aside from the scholarship, if money is the main obstacle to your considering this trip, please call Dianne Jones in the finance office to express your interest. Sometimes we are aware of outside donors who might offer some help for a specific family.
On another note, it was announced at our last deanery meeting that the Diocese is trying to formulate a policy for how to handle an overabundance of Mass requests/stipends. On occasions such as funerals, people sometimes offer a donation to the church, requesting many Masses for the deceased. It is a great practice to offer Masses for our deceased loved ones. But, practically speaking, we also have to be sure we are able to fulfill the obligation of all of these Masses. Canon Law requires that a pastor maintain only those Mass offerings which he is able to fulfill in a year’s time. Mass intentions above and beyond this level are to be passed on to the Diocese or religious orders that fulfill those intentions.
Here at our parish I learned a number of months ago that we had way too many Mass intentions backlogged. To meet the requirements of Canon Law, a couple months ago we sent a list of 500 intentions to the Diocese to be fulfilled–specifying the names of the deceased and the number of Masses for each person. My current plan is to take inventory of Mass intentions at the end of each year and send extra Mass intentions to the Diocese or a religious order, as need be. If the Diocese gives us some other instruction in this regard, I’ll let you know.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,