The Pope Is One of Us

Priest From a Roman Parish Visited by Pontiff Reflects on Experience

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By Salvatore Cernuzio

ROME, MARCH 8, 2012 ( Only a few days have gone by since Benedict XVI’s pastoral visit to the Parish of Saint John the Baptist of La Salle, at Torrino, in the southern periphery of Rome.

The emotion caused by the meeting with the Pope is still alive in the entire district, according to Father Francesco Indelicato, who is one of the priests at the parish.

“The people’s reaction to the announcement of the Pope’s visit was from the beginning one of enthusiasm, astonishment and great involvement,” he told ZENIT. 

We didn’t expect that the Vicar of Christ would come to our parish and even on the day itself of the visit the people were wondering if it would really happen, said Father Indelicato.

Before the Pope came we did everything we could to make the church as beautiful as possible, with the help of many volunteers, he explained. We also prepared spiritually for the visit , both in groups and then also in a community-wide catechesis that explained to everyone the role of the Pope in the Church.

Another feature of Benedict XVI’s visit was the meeting between him and the priests of the parish. The priest reported, We told him about all the activities in the parish and about the people. During the time we were with him he was very relaxed, as if we had met him many times before. 

“In those few hours of his visit, Benedict XVI often turned to the parish priest, Father Giampaolo Perugini, to ask for information, to know more about a child he had just

greeted, or about the situation of the parish,” Father Indelicato recounted. “It was an atmosphere of great cordiality, of sincerity, of brotherhood in the faith.”

During his homily Benedict XVI said: “This church of yours, located in the highest point of the district, with a bell tower soaring up like an arrow to heaven, reminds us that the Gospel must be communicated , proclaimed to all.” 

“I believe, in fact, that these words of the Pope will not be forgotten,” Father Indelicato said. “We know that faith cannot remain closed behind the walls of a church. Just as when one receives good news, one hastens to share it with the persons one loves, so it is with the Gospel: if we really believe that it is the indispensable instrument for salvation, it must be proclaimed and witnessed.”

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