I remember seeing him in Cologne. To me, the wound of losing Pope John Paul II was still very real. I know those of you who are not Catholic, or are not part of my generation might not understand, but losing John Paul II was a very real pain to me. I remember a college professor once warning, 'you will have to be intentional about embracing the new Pope, because it will be hard'. You see, John Paul II, to me, was truly like a friend. I had the privilege of seeing him several times. I felt loved by him. I decided to go into youth ministry, in part, because of his love and belief in me (and all young people). So when it was time to go to World Youth Day Germany, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. You could tell he was nervous. Tight smiles through the chaos of 1 million young people hanging on his every word. I sometimes wondered if the 'party' atmosphere of it all was a bit much for the introvert. But he did well, and his words were profound. The young Church embraced their new leader.
|Our special Group in NYC on our way to see the Pope|
|The Popemobile flying by us|
|Our motley crew in Fatima en route to Madrid to see the Holy Father|
When I woke up a couple of weeks ago, after feeding sweet baby Joey and saw the facebook status that the Holy Father had resigned, I was scared. I emailed a priest that I knew. I was very aware of the depth of this announcement. The historical nature. The unprecedented move. As the reality settled in though, I felt excited for him. I am still a bit wary of what will go down the next couple of weeks, I am not someone that deals with change well. But, I will be praying. And, I will be trusting. And, I will be reflecting on those oh so important words, 'Be Not Afraid'.
|The Day of the Papal announcement of abdicating the office.|
As of 2:00 pm, Pope Benedict XVI. Peter, will step down from his role of leading the Church.
And Pope Benedict XVI, I guess what I am trying to say is...
It was fun growing with you, and I will miss you.