Monday, April 28, 2008

I was a bleacher bum at Yankee Stadium

Sunday, April 20 was the final day of a perfect trip and Mike and I attended morning mass seated on the front row at St. Patrick's Cathedral and afternoon mass in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium. Both services as well as the Seder supper the evening before were wonderfully enjoyable faith building events.

A few photos from New York:

Banners welcoming Pope Benedict XVI
were everywhere in New York and D.C.

Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York

Archdiocese of New York banner at Yankee Stadium

New York Priests, clergy, police, and firefighters were well
represented in the bleachers to keep us rowdies in line.

The altar at Yankee Stadium.
Mr. Steinbrenner had but one request - "stay off the grass".

The Holy Father arrives via Mercedes popemobile and takes a lap
around the track at Yankee Stadium prior to beginning the mass.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Viva il Papa!

Pope Benedict XVI in route to St. Patrick's Cathedral to celebrate mass for clergy and religious. Both sides of 5th Avenue were lined from 71st Street to the Cathedral for the morning motorcade. The mass just concluded and the pope will depart St. Patrick's after lunch in the popemobile providing a better opportunity to see him as he returns to St. Joseph Seminary.

After cannolli at Ferrara's Italian bakery on Grant Street in Little Italy, Mike and I are now headed to the Shubert Theatre for Spamalot.

This evening we'll take the train to Rockaway Island and participate in an Orthodox Jewish Passover Seder supper.

Thursday evening in D.C., Friday in NYC

Thursday evening Mike and I enjoyed a great meal on the Potomac waterfront in Georgetown then visited with friends who were kind enough to take us by the Apostolic Nunciature in route back to our hotel in Chinatown. The Nunciature is the D.C. residence on Embassy Row of the Papal Nuncio, the Vatican's diplomat to the U.S., where the Holy Father spent the night. The residence is directly across the street from Vice President Cheney's residence at the Naval Observatory on Massachusetts Avenue.

Mike was quoted in an AJC article on the papal visit on Thursday, April 18th titled "Major-league Mass" by Bob Dart.

Pope Benedict left Washington from Andrews AFB about 8:30 a.m. Friday morning and arrived at RFK in New York just after 10:00 a.m. The pope addressed the United Nations General Assembly at about 11:00 a.m.

Mike and I departed D.C. about 12:30 p.m. and were met in New York at LaGuardia by Mike's father Tom. After a short visit at his home in Queens, we attended a family gathering in Suffolk County on Long Island. Tom then treated us to a fantastic Italian meal at Pasquele's on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

Saturday morning, the Holy Father will travel down 5th Avenue in the popemobile very near our hotel in route to St. Patrick's Cathedral where he will celebrate mass with clergy from around the country.

A few pics from CUA and the National Shrine:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mass in D.C.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the campus of The Catholic University of Ameria hosted Pope Benedict for evening prayers yesterday and I attended mass this morning in the same chapel. As an unexpected souvenir of my visit, I found the program from the Evening Prayer service left by Cardinal George from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Deacon Mike Byrne, St. John Neumann, is in route back to Chinatown from the papal mass at Washington Nationals stadium where he was honored to participate in the mass by distributing Holy Communion. Mike was interviewed by Cox News after the mass and his comments should air on TV 2 in Atlanta this evening.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

He's here

Photo credit: American Papist

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, landed at Andrews AFB at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and was greeted by the President and First Lady. The event marks the first time a U.S. President has left the White House to meet a visiting head of state upon arrival. The Vatican is the smallest nation-state and the Pope's visit is an "official" state visit.

This morning the Pope will celebrate his 81st birthday with a visit to the White House and a meeting with President Bush and others. This evening, the President is hosting a formal White House dinner in honor of the Pope's visit, however, the Holy Father will not be in attendance as he will be meeting with U.S. bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

This afternoon, Mike Byrne and I depart about 1 p.m. for D.C.. Thursday morning, Mike, a Catholic Deacon, will participate in the mass officiated by Pope Benedict at Washington Nationals Stadium. Thursday afternoon, the Holy Father meets with educators and students at The Catholic University of America and then inter-religious leaders at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center.

Friday, after a quick tour of the U.S. Capitol, we depart for New York. Friday morning the pope speaks at the United Nations and in the afternoon meets with ecumenical Christian leaders. Friday evening, Mike's father Tom, a New Yorker, is treating us to his favorite Italian restaurant.

Saturday morning, Pope Benedict celebrates mass for Catholic religious at St. Patrick's Cathedral then travels via popemobile across the city. We'll take in a Broadway matinee Saturday afternoon -- hey, we're in New York -- it's the law.

Saturday evening begins Jewish Passover and Mike and I are invited to a Passover Seder meal with the family of one of his childhood friends in New York. [Thanks Joan for loaning me your Haggadah.]

Sunday morning, the Holy Father visits Ground Zero and offers prayers for those lost. In the afternoon, Mike and I attend mass at Yankee Stadium where the pope will celebrate the 200th anniversary of several U.S. diocese including Baltimore, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Louisville.

Tidbit: I always thought the introduction for the Stones was impressive, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the World's Greatest Rock-n-Roll Band, the Rolling Stones!" That intro pales to the official title of the pope. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor to the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of the City of the Vatican, Servant of the Servants of God, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. As the photo caption above says, "rock on, papist dudes!"

Monday, April 7, 2008

He's coming

I'll soon embark on a once in a lifetime trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City to attend mass and events officiated by Pope Benedict XVI. My dear friend, former City Attorney and now Deacon Michael Byrne is traveling with me and he will participate in the papal mass at Washington Nationals Stadium.

I expect the King of All Media will be dethroned during the papal visit as all lenses and microphones will be focused on Pope Benedict. This is Pope Benedict's first visit to the United States and an opportunity to build hope and faith in the American church. He'll celebrate his 81st birthday while at the White House. He is the 265th successor of St. Peter, installed by Christ to shepherd His church on earth.

Pope Benedict's tentative shedule is:

Tuesday, April 15
Arrive in Washington, DC via Shepherd One
greeted by President Bush at Andrew's AFB

Wednesday, April 16 Pope Benedict XVI's 81st Birthday
10:30 a.m. Meet with the President at The White House
Only the second time in history the pope has visited the White House

Noon Popemobile route
Pope Benedict will travel via Popemobile on at least
two trips while in D.C.

Popemobile traveling down I-95 toward D.C. on April 2nd.

5:30 p.m. Meet with the bishops of the United States, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Thursday, April 17
10:00 a.m. Mass hosted by the Archdiocese of Washington, Washington Nationals baseball stadium

5:00 p.m. Address Catholic educators: presidents of 200 Catholic colleges and universities and education leaders from 195 dioceses, The Catholic University of America
Of the 250+ Catholic schools and universities in the United States, CUA is the only college operated by bishops.

6:30 p.m. Meet with interfaith leaders, Pope John Paul II Cultural Center including Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews

Friday, April 18
Depart for New York
10:45 a.m. Speech to the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations

6:00 p.m. Meet with ecumenical leaders of other Christian denominations at St. Joseph Church in Manhattan

Saturday, April 19
3rd anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI to the papacy
9:15 a.m. Mass for Priests, Deacons and Religious, St. Patrick's Cathedral

4:30 p.m. Meet with Children with Disabilities, St. Joseph's Seminary Chapel Youth and Seminarian Rally, Grounds of St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers

Sunday, April 20
9:30 a.m. Visit to Ground Zero, World Trade Center Site

2:30 p.m. Mass hosted by the Archdiocese of New York at Yankee Stadium
Recognizing the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Baltimore Archdiocese

8:00 p.m. Depart for Vatican City onboard Shepherd One

Fun Fact:
Pope Benedict XVI has a pilot's license and flys the Vatican helicopter, but he does not have a driver's license and never learned to drive a car.