Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán O’Malley shares his reflections and experiences

Day: September 22, 2006

I Have Arrived In Rome

Good Evening from the Eternal City…I have safely arrived after my long journey from Boston. Thankfully, the flight went very smooth. The staff at Lufthansa in Boston, and aboard the plane, are always so kind to me. We took off at 10:16pm and landed in Frankfurt, Germany at 4:50am Boston time. The flight was approximately 3,650 miles. Now that I am using this blog to share my experiences with you, I thought I would share with you some of my not so thrilling activities on the flight.

I prefer to take the late flight on Lufthansa leaving Boston at 9:50pm because it allows me to sleep without losing a full nights sleep. After the typical airline cuisine, I read from two of the books I brought with me, BASILICA BUILDING ST. PETERS by R.A. Scott and SUITE FRANCAIS by Irene Nemirovsky, which is written in French. The story is very sad and dire as it is about the invasion of Paris during World War II. The story traces the people and families who were fleeing the City of Lights and the challenges they faced each day.

While exiting the flight from Boston in Frankfurt the head flight attendant shook my hand and said to me, Please give our very best to our German Pope. She smiled and reminded once again how proud the Germans are of their native Son, Pope Benedict XVI.

While walking through the never ending terminal in Frankfurt.I thought we were going to walk to Rome after what seemed like a three mile journey from our arrival gate to our new departure a young seminarian I was in Germany for a couple of months studying German.

I have many fond memories of those days in the early 1960s. I will share with you, believe it or not, that I and everyone else were wearing lederhosen in those days…but, do not try to find those pictures because I assure you that the negatives have been destroyed.LOL!

Our flight out of Germany was scheduled for 12:15pm, which was 6:15am Boston time, but a passenger who checked baggage did not board the plane. So, the airline had to remove their bags from the planes cargo area before we could depart. Our departure for Rome was not until 12:50pm and we arrived in Rome at 2:15pm. I have only had a short time to unpack, freshen up and say mass because I am about to leave to make the three hour drive to San Giovanni Rotondo, where I will celebrate the feast day Mass for St. Padre Pio.

I will share more about my personal thoughts of Padre Pio and will also make sure there are pictures from the Shrine to share with you in upcoming posts.

I am so looking forward to celebrating this mass. It is a tremendous honor. This particular mass is usually reserved for the Bishop of that regionit would be his prerogative to celebrate. I am deeply moved to have been invited to be the guest celebrant and homilist tomorrow where thousands will be in attendance. I should also let you know that this will be my first time visiting the Shrine. I never had the opportunity and honor to meet Padre Pio in person because like all Capuchin friars we were asked not to visit because so many would have overwhelmed the Friary.

I will share the homily that I have written for this special Mass with you tomorrow.Its theme is Prayer, Charity and the Joy of Forgiveness.

Please be assured as I leave you are all in my thoughts and prayers in Boston. In a special way you will all be remembered at the Mass.

Im off to San Giovanni Rotondo.

God Bless,

Cardinal Sen

September 2006