May 1, 2011

Sister in Rome:'The day was filled with celebration'

ROME - Sister Yvonne Mary Loucks, RSM, of the Diocese of Saginaw has traveled to Rome for the beatification of Servant of God John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1.

She reports: "On this day at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Pope John Paul II was beatified in all of the triumph and joy that can be imagined. Several million people from all over the world gathered for the event. The night before the actual Mass, many persons gathered in front of St. Peter's to spend the night waiting to get in to the Piazza the next morning. Pictures show the campers settling down for the night.

This morning very early there were many thousands of people already lined up to get in to the Mass. Many different languages could be heard as pilgrims hurried to get their places near the Basilica. The day was very hot and quite sunny.

At 10:00 the Mass began. The Vicar of the Diocese of Rome read a brief biography of the life of Pope John Paul and requested that the Holy Father proclaim him blessed. This the Holy Father did with great emotion. He said that by the power of his office he publicly proclaimed John Paul II to be blessed in heaven and he will be celebrated on October 22 every year. When the Mass began his image was covered. As he was proclaimed blessed, the cover was lifted and a thunderous applause occurred when the portrait was made visible. The image is a portrait of Blessed John Paul early in his Pontificate. It captures the vitality and love that he conveyed to everyone whom he met. It was a tremendous experience of the great joy of one universal

One outstanding thing occured at the time of the distribution of Holy Communion. At least 1,000 priests, many of them Americans, distributed the Eucharist to persons attending the Mass which covered approximately one full mile. It is estimated that two million people attended the Mass.

The day was filled with celebration. The evening brought the opening of the veneration of the relics. The casket of Blessed John Paul was brought up to the main body of the Basilica. Pilgrims began lining up to pray at the remains of the new Blessed immediately after Mass. This will continue through the night. We were in line for three hours to participate in this beautiful event. During that time we held all of the needs and intentions of the people of the Diocese of Saginaw in our hearts."

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