Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, “A Triumph and a Tragedy,” is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on “Catholic Answers Live.”
This Sunday I went out for breakfast after Mass, which is something I very rarely do.
I almost never eat out, but I decided to do so as a way of celebrating the Lord's Day.
While I was waiting in the restaurant, I was reading Facebook and discovered that the planned worldwide, Eucharistic exposition was going on right then--a fact I had not previously known.
Here are a few thoughts on the event . . .
1) These are the days of miracle and wonder.
As I sat in the restaurant, I downloaded, for free, The Pope App from News.va (iOS version, Android version) to let me watch the event live and then was able to do so--to join countless people from all over the planet in a simultaneous act of worship.
To quote Paul Simon, "These are the days of miracle and wonder.
2) How unique was this event?
Someone on Facebook stated that this was the first worldwide Eucharistic exposition.
Hmmm. Well, there have certainly been occasions when people all over the world have joined the pope in Eucharistic adoration.
There was the memorable event at World Youth Day in Cologne, where Pope Benedict led everybody in Eucharistic adoration, with people around the world watching and joining in.
And the same thing happens, at least briefly, during every televised papal Mass.
But sure, this event seems to be unique in that it was called specifically for this purpose (it was not adoration occurring the context of a Mass) and specifically for a worldwide audience (as opposed, primarily, for a local audience).
It also is different in the sense that there were numerous parallel services happening all over the world. According to Vatican Radio:
“It will be an event,” Archbishop Fisichella president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, explained, “occurring for the first time in the history of the Church, which is why we can describe it as ‘historical’. The cathedrals of the world will be synchronized with Rome and will, for an hour, be in communion with the Pope in Eucharistic adoration. There has been an incredible response to this initiative, going beyond the cathedrals and involving episcopal conferences, parishes, lay associations, and religious congregations, especially cloistered ones.”
Always great to see Msgr. Marini at the pope's elbow, presiding in his role as papal master of ceremonies.
(In case you don't know him, he's a very solid liturgist who Pope Benedict brought in. He's also the guy who got to say "Extra omnes" [Latin, "Everybody out"] at the beginning of the recent conclave.)
4) Pure Francis
Now, I have to say that I don't know whose idea this was. The Vatican Radio report quoted above may suggest that the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization's idea.
It may have already been planned as one of the events for the Year of Faith before Pope Benedict resigned.
In fact, it may have even been Pope Benedict's idea.
But there's something about it that really fits Pope Francis's style. It has that combination of traditional piety and evangelistic outreach that are characteristic of his approach to the papacy.
So even if he didn't think of it, it really fits him.
5) It was really cool watching Pope Francis lead the worldwide Eucharistic exposition and saying the prayers in Latin.
Now about that meme that Pope Francis is a footwashing liberal who's going to smash the liturgy.
Yeah. Not so much, huh?
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In the meantime, what do you think?