The Catholicity of the canonization

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I was going to the canonization.

There are so many things to take advantage of as a seminarian studying in Rome, but this one would be big. A rush of emotions overwhelmed me, from what a grace to witness these seven men and women raised to the altar of sainthood, to anxiety over how to deal with the multitudes in St. Peter’s Square jockeying for position and a view.

Fortunately, the excitement took over as we walked toward the square. As we turned the corner into the square, I could not believe the sheer number of people waiting to go through security and the seemingly orderless manner in which herds of people were being ushered into different lines.

As I wedged my way through, I found myself in the middle of a sea of yellow-hatted pilgrims from Naples all smoking and pushing, but, obviously enjoying themselves. I finally made it into the square, and saw flags and banners from what seemed like half of the world. I heard just as many different languages. I claimed what would be my spot for the remainder of the morning, and enjoyed watching people reunite with friends and family from whom they had been separated at the security gates.

Listening to the choir warm up, and glimpsing the rustle of white vestments that were the priests and bishops lining up for the procession, it hit me: The Catholicity in this square was palpable. Everyone here, with our different cultures, backgrounds, and varying degrees of devotion, came for one reason: to witness the solemn declaration by the Holy Father of seven new saints in our Church, and to worship with them at Mass.

In spite of the noise and bustle in the square — and in our world — their shining example, as men and women living in different times, places and circumstances, united in offering their lives to Christ, called out to us to do the same. I continued to ponder this as we walked back to the seminary, overwhelmed by the joy of being Catholic.

Joe Moschetto, a parishioner of Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls,  is in his second year of theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018