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Rome, sweet Rome: My Vatican Visit

By Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP, D.Min.

These past few days have been one of great joys for me and for so many people from many corners of the world, as Pope Francis elevated 15 bishops and archbishops.

My day started in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica, with thousands of others of course, including a lovely bride! The general audience with Pope Francis takes place in the morning at Paul the VI Audience Hall. There was a blessing of married couples, as they arrived all dressed up for the occasion.

It was blazing hot, yet people stood patiently waiting for the gigantic doors to St Peter’s to open for the Consistory ceremony. I was able to obtain a temporary press pass that allowed me through the line. I sat in the front, about 40 feet from the Pope’s chair, but in between were rows of cardinals and archbishops and the devoted volunteers who make sure guests and the press stay in their assigned places. 

The Consistory was imbued with faith. There was a reading from Scripture (Mark 10: 32-45), as Pope Francis pronounced the new members of the College of Cardinals whose role is to be “fearless witnessed to Christ and His Gospel in the City of Rome and in faraway regions."

The Holy Father named the Cardinals who then recited the Nicene Creed and an oath “to remain faithful to Christ and His Gospel, constantly obedient to the Holy Apostolic Roman Church, to Blessed Peter in the Person of the Supreme Pontiff," and to become collaborators with Pope Francis.

I also attended a reception honoring then Cardinal-Designate Robert W. McElroy. It was held at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. In his remarks, McElroy said that the role of the Holy See in the international order is to constantly proclaim the Gospel to the nations of the world and the primacy of human rights. He also said that Pope Francis’s vision is to radiate how we are called to be and act in the current world situation.

These events were marked by a deep Christian unity that made me marvel at the universality of the Church.

Sister Rose facilitates online courses for the university’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.   She will be facilitating the five-week online course, Collaboration and Community, from Italy in September. Sr. Rose is on a temporary assignment in Italy, serving on the Catholic jury at the Venice Film Festival. She is a film columnist for St. Anthony Messenger and the National Catholic Reporter and the founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, Calif.

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Rome, sweet Rome

A longtime collaborator with the University of Dayton, Sr. Rose Pacatte shares her journey through Italy with the campus community.
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