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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Shrine of St. Cecilia*: reflections on the Pope's visit and the World Meeting of Families

I've been trying to think of something profound to say about the events of the last week.  I'll probably get to it some day but right now I'm still processing everything.  I think the best I can do is start by categorizing everything.

Logistics: People, 'fess up. You didn't leave your house soon enough to get in to see the Pope. Stop blaming the infrastructure. You had weeks and even months to prepare. Be assertive and plan ahead next time.

Restaurant owners and Mayor Nutter: Stop blaming the media.  The fact that you put out the information doesn't excuse you from the consequences of the quality of that information. Why else would most media outlets be reporting the same thing?

Being a musician in the Archdiocese: I can think of few places I would rather have been than in the musical portion of the proceedings. Singing to God accompanied by the Philadelphia Orchestra was truly a small preview of heaven. I do have things to say about the particulars of the three Masses we sang, which I'll do in another post.

World Meeting of Families: It looked like an impressive lineup of speakers. I wish I'd had the resources for our family to participate. What I did hear moved me.

People watching: Possibly one of the best parts of the week. I met people from dozens of countries, including Portugal, Argentina, Australia, Nigeria, and saw people in dazzling native dress from every continent.

No matter where you go: I grew up in Holland, Michigan, a small city on the shores of Lake Michigan. Imagine my surprise when I was boarding the train and discovered that I was riding with people from the nearby cities of Grand Rapids and Muskegon!  Reminds me of my honeymoon--Nancy and I were in Nova Scotia when I spotted a Vandenberg Buick sticker on a car. I asked the driver if they were from Holland. When they said yes, I responded that I'd grown up there. They seemed a little miffed. Oh well. Shout out to Petoskey, MI too.

No good deed goes unpunished: Word was that we were to get lunch.  The CEO of Wawa Inc., a devout Catholic and member of the local delegation that petitioned the Pope to come to the WMoF, donated 500 small box lunches to the musicians. Good thing I packed my lunch; by the time we got back from warmup, they were gone. Because I didn't see the alleged eager eaters do this, I won't say who was rumored to have made off with them.

The Dunham bus fiasco: I don't necessarily blame the bus company for the overly long waits to get to and from our destinations. People were getting pushy and ugly, and the longer the wait, the more agitated we got. After a group of people who hadn't waited on line forced their way onto a bus, I remarked to a nearby priest, "Does this mean we can be Philadelphians again?".

So I didn't see Fr. Groeschel...but I did see Anderson Cooper and Bill Hemmer (Fox News), both of whom acknowledged the choir when we waved and cheered like mad.

Lots of nuns whose habits I didn't recognize...I started making a point of asking what order they were, and among them were an order from New York called the Sisters of Life, founded in 1990.

Librarian opportunities? I wonder if they ever considered setting up tents as reading rooms, or setting up a reading room at the convention center. Maybe they did, I don't know.

This is going to be more than one post...
To be continued.
*--Carroll Loveday, c. 1951.
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