I made it safely to Rome yesterday and met up with Fr. Roderick Vonhogen, CEO of SQPN. Not too much to report other than a well deserved nap, some good pasta at a nearby restaurant, and a nightcap of some excellent tiramisu.
Usually, the journey to Europe is extremely tedious and something to be endured as part of the price to be paid to visit a wonderful city such as Rome.
This trip was not like that and I couldn’t have been more pleased.
The flight from Washington, DC to Rome included about 25 Polish Catholics from Chicago, traveling like me to the Beatification of Pope John Paul II. They were a joyous group and fun to watch.
I sat next to a Polish couple, now living in Denver, who are just old enough to remember the Communist years in Kracow, but still young enough to appreciate the spirit of renewal that JPII brought to his country.
The young woman in the couple told me that she had never taken advantage of the opportunities she had to see or meet Karol Woytila, when he was Archbishop of Kracow. Her journey to Rome for the beatification is in a sense to correct that and to honor his memory.
I was so glad, and lucky, to have the chance to sit and talk with them as we whiled away the time over the Atlantic. Polish Catholics have always impressed me with their devotion to the Church. I know that their society is increasingly under the pressure of secularization, so I take hope when seeing groups like these.
We are just beginning our time in Rome, so hopefully we will have more opportunities to share the experiences of other pilgrims here for this wonderful event.
There’s a forecast for rain this weekend, but I would be surprised if it dampens any of the spirit of those coming.