Year of the Faith 2012
As 50 years ago, on the opening of the Council II, a candlelight vigil in St. Peter’s Square was an opportunity for believers to gather around John XXIII, so this evening a procession started in the late afternoon from Castel Sant’Angelo has arrived in the square San Pietro, in front of Pope Benedict XVI, who this morning kicked off the “Year of the faith”. This morning the pope presided over the Holy Mass with four hundred celebrants, including eight patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, 80 cardinals and 15 council fathers, in a procession till the Basilica’s churchyard, in St. Peter’s Square crowded with about 20.000 people.
On 11 October 1962, it was a real council “ecumenical” collecting nearly 2,500 between cardinals, patriarchs and Catholic bishops from around the world. On that occasion, in the night of the opening of the second Council, St. Peter’s Square was packed with believers who loudly invited Pope John XXIII to show himself. The pope did it, and he also made a short speech, poetic, sweet, and simple.
At that time I was a child and of that speech I remember just a thought.
But let’s see what the Pope (nicknamed the pope “good”) said while out the window:
“Dear sons, I hear your voices. Mine is one only, but it sums up all the voices of the world, and here in fact the world is represented. It seems that even the moon hastened tonight … Look at it, watching this show … We close a great day of peace … Yes, of peace: ‘Glory to God and peace to men of good will. If I asked you, if I could ask now to everyone: which side do you come from? The sons of Rome, which are represented here especially, would say: oh, we are the closer sons and you are our bishop. Well, you sons of Rome, yourself feel really to represent ‘Roma caput mundi’, the capital of the world, as well as for the design of Providence it was called to be it through the centuries. My person counts nothing: it is a brother who speaks to you, a brother became a father for the will of Our Lord … Continue to love each other, to love each other so, so looking at ourselves in the meeting: take what unites us, leave aside , if there is anything that give us a bit of trouble… Going back at home, you will find the children. Give a caress to your children and say, this is the caress of the Pope. You will find perhaps a few tears to dry. Have a word of comfort for those who suffer and say that the Pope is with his sons especially in times of sadness and bitterness… and then all together animate yourself: singing, sighing, crying, but continue to resume our journey always full of trust in Christ that helps us and listening to us. Goodbye, my sons. To my blessing I also add a good night.”
That “tender” sentence in blue is the one which that night of 11 October 1962 struck me and that I still remember, giving me shivers. Maybe because I was a child and needed a caress, caresses that I never had.
Please, give to your child a caress now and say, this is a caress that the good Pope, from there, sent to you.
Here, if you want hear pope John XXIII’s speech.