Peter Scudner, KM, Lynn Mullaney, DM, Ty Freyvogel, KM, and Noreen Falcone, DM (left to right) ran into each other at the Catholic University of America reception prior to Mass.
In Northeast Washington, DC there is a little neighborhood named Brookland that is so concentrated with some of the nation’s most important Catholics institutions that it is affectionately called “Little Rome”.
On September 23, several Knights and Dames were blessed to be among 25,000 faithful to welcome Pope Francis to Little Rome as he celebrated Mass for the first time on the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the University Mall at The Catholic University of America. During the Mass, Pope Francis canonized the first person ever canonized on U.S. soil, Spanish-born Franciscan Friar Blessed Junipero Serra. Pope Francis called him "the embodiment of 'a Church which goes forth,' a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God" and urged the faithful to not to let their hearts grow “numb” but to take joy from a life of sharing the Gospel.
Despite the unprecedented security and the heat, our day in little Rome was truly an amazing day that was more akin to a family reunion. On full display was the universality of the Church. Clergy and laity of all backgrounds spoke in various languages, and choral, chant and gospel music filled the air as the family waited for the Holy Father to make his entrance.
Pope Francis did not disappoint. Standing in the popemobile, he greeted cheering people along the way around the basilica circle and back. Seeing the pope up close was exhilarating. His message of compassion and faith along with exhorting us (as Jesus did to his disciples) to rejoice in the Lord and proclaim the Gospel (Philippians 4) resonated with all. This is a day that we will always remember. So now we go forth! Proclaim! Knowing the joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.