Thanks be to God and to His Mother, Our Lady, I went on pilgrimage to Rome recently. Of course, the spiritual heart of the pilgrimage was the beatification of Pope John Paul II. He is my hero. He is the good soil through which the roots of my priestly vocation are anchored to Christ and to Our Lady. I have always loved him. And I always will.
Here are some photographs that I took while on pilgrimage:
Getting ready to leave the United States on a rainy day.
Just having landed in Rome.
Upon arriving in Saint Peter's Square, I saw a picture of the reason for my pilgrimage.
Standing at one of the Holy Doors at the entrance to Saint Peter's Basilica.
It was amazing to see the papal coat of arms of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI side by side.
Saint Peter's Basilica is our ecclesial home. The remains of the Apostle Peter are kept in this magnificent church.
I took this photo as Pope Benedict arrived for Mass. If you look closely, slightly to the right, you can see the Pope himself.
Our Sovereign Pontiff arriving. You can see His Holiness in the center, standing on the platform of the popemobile.
Blessed John Paul II. As this image was unveiled, I actually cried. Two tears came out of my left eye. How much I love Pope John Paul II, and how much he loves us!
Here is a video of the actual moment of beatification. The religious sister who was healed through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II is dressed in a white habit and is seen carrying the relic of the new blessed.
At night, I returned to Saint Peter's Basilica to venerate the remains of Blessed John Paul, and to pray for so many people in my heart.
The casket of Blessed John Paul II, my hero. Bless us, Holy Father.
The Mother of the Redeemer, the Mother of the Church, and our Mother. Totus Tuus ego sum, Maria. I am all yours, O Mary.
When I was about 17 years old, I knew nothing about the Pope. In fact, I was not even going to church at the time. Someone brought a video tape of Pope John Paul II to my home and left it there. One day, I began to watch the video and, when I saw this Pope preaching, I said in my heart, "I want to follow this man." He instantly became my hero. And he has been ever since.
Through the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the gift and the fruits of this pilgrimage.
I want to finish this post by sharing the video I made when I was in Rome: