Monday, July 11, 2016
Our day started with Morning Prayer and meditation. Then we took the bus to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, officially titled “Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples” since 1988. There we met Fr. Ehli again, who celebrated the Holy Eucharist in the Chapel of the Congregation. This is the same chapel in which Cardinal John Henry Newman was ordained. Also in this chapel is one of the habits of St. Therese of Lisieux and a fresco of St. Francis Xavier, pointing to Jesus. Both saints are patrons of the missions, and in his homily Father stated that the missionary’s job, and therefore our job, is to point out Jesus to others. St. Therese accepted who she was in her weakness and littleness, thus Father invited us to accept who we are and follow Jesus.
After Mass Father treated us to coffee and refreshments before entering the conference room in which the twenty-one officials of the Congregation discuss important issues. They gather together once a week for two hours. It was an amazing experience to sit in the very chairs in which these officials handle many issues dealing with the missions. Cardinal Filoni is the prefect of this Congregation, and he is called the “Red Pope” because he is responsible for half of the world’s land mass and population. This Congregation is sometimes called the “Curia within the Curia” because of all of the responsibilities they handle with the mission territories.
After the fantastic experience of being in this room, we proceeded to the Archives where they keep all the documents of the missions. Then we went to the special chapel in which Cardinal Newman celebrated his first Mass, and we venerated the relic of Cardinal Newman. We thanked Fr. Ehli who gave so generously of his time and knowledge by showing us this special place.
Then we proceeded across the street to the Church of Sant’ Adreaa delle Frate, in which the anti-Catholic Jewish man, Alphonse Ratisbonne had a miraculous conversion to Catholicism, through an apparition of the Blessed Mother. At the same time, we visited the altar of Our Lady of Miracles at which St. Maximillian Kolbe celebrated his first Mass. We spent some time in prayer, and joined in the Midday Prayer of the priests and parishioners.
In the afternoon, some of us visited St. Bartholomew’s Basilica where he is buried. We also venerated various relics of new martyrs from various countries, including a Missal used by Oscar Romero. We ended the day preparing eagerly for our trip to Subiaco tomorrow.
The Altar in the chapel of the ongregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
The habit of St. Therese of Lieseux
Group Photo by the relics of St. Cardinal Henry Newman
The Altar at which St. Maximilian Kolbe celebrated his first Mass