"Are you going to Rome?"
That was the question I heard numerous times over the past couple of weeks at the University of Notre Dame. I live in the undergraduate seminary on campus, and I work as the Associate Director of the Office of Vocations for the Indiana Province of Holy Cross - the congregation that Brother André Bessette belonged to.
The answer to the question was unfortunately "No." I was not going to Rome and am not in Rome, although many of my brother priests in Holy Cross as well as three of our seminarians are in the Eternal City right now. Through this blog, I hope to share some of their experiences of being at the canonization - which is certainly the opportunity of a lifetime! It is not every day after all that someone is canonized, let alone someone from your own family! (You see, Brother André and I are brothers -- religious brothers, and the ties of faith are tighter than the ties of blood, so I couldn't be prouder!)
But whenever I answered "No," I would always add, "but you better believe that I am going to be celebrating over here!" I might not be in Rome, but I am certainly not missing out on this celebration. I am currently in Austin, Texas, where I will be celebrating Masses tomorrow at our parish and our university giving thanks for André's canonization.
There are going to be celebrations at many Holy Cross apostolates throughout the U.S. Perhaps the one I am most proud of is the celebration at my previous parish of St. John Vianney in Goodyear, Arizona. It was the parish where I served as a deacon and newly ordained priest for three years. They are having Eucharistic Adoration this evening in the Church until 1 am. (Arizona, Local time) Following this they will stream the canonization live in the parish hall. The parish youth group will be out in full force. A seminarian working there told me he does not plan to sleep, and my friend and youth minister Matt Gonzalez, wrote that he feels "ecstatic and blessed to be part of the celebration. [Br. André's] humility inspires me to continue in my ministry and reminds me that I'm just a servant of God."
Well put, Matt. Let's get this celebration started! Brother André, celebrate with us!