Our first full day was very full, from 8:30am to close to midnight! I very much enjoyed the opportunity to hear Kiko Agüello, one of the founders of “the Way” reflect at length on this ministry and the impact it has had on the Church in recent decades. The primary language of the conference is Italian, which allows us to communicate with each other despite the barriers of our different languages.
Father Tony Medeiros, of our own beloved Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Boston, has been my shepherd and guide and through his many years of service to “the Way” has good friends here from China to Raykjavik!
Today we are off to Tabgha, which since the fourth century has marked the site of the multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and the Primacy of Peter. Tomorrow we go up to Jerusalem where we will be visiting with the Latin Patriarchate and I hope to receive the pilgrim shell of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
What a privilege it is to have some days to reflect here during the octave of Easter, as we recall the post-resurrection appearances of the Lord just a stone’s throw from my front door! I’m staying at the same shrine on the Mount of Beatitudes which I first visited as a seminarian in 1977 (the photo is from my bedroom window!). While things have grown here, I experience a particular peace when I sit in the warm early morning by the entrance to the shrine of the Sermon on the Mount and think of all the places God has led me and all the wonderful people he has put into my life in the intervening years, including you!
I have a list of all my brothers and sons at Saint John’s and, one by one, I am praying for you by name as the busy schedule allows. I will offer Mass at the Church of the Multiplication this morning for all our benefactors and in Jerusalem tomorrow morning for all our seminarians.
Please trust in these prayers, and ask God to return me safely next week. On my way back I stop briefly in Rome and enjoy a festive dinner with the Boston seminarians and Cardinal Seán. Pray that I don’t eat too much!