Pope Francis officiates at the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament


Pope's Corpus Christi Procession Brings Families an Experience of God's Grace

Event Brings Christ to Streets of Rome, Hearts of Participants

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As we lead up to the second phase of the Synod on the Family, taking place in the Vatican this October, ZENIT decided to take a look at Thursday evening’s Corpus Christi celebration through the eyes of three families present for the celebration: one from the Pope’s native Argentina, another from Dublin, and another from the United States.

Upon completion of the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in the courtyard of the papal archbasilica of St. John Lateran last night, thousands of faithful participated in the traditional Eucharistic Procession. They walked along Via Merulana to the Marian basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The Pope, like last year, did not walk the procession, but instead traveled by covered car to the Piazza of Santa Maria Maggiore, where he closed the procession by giving Benediction.

Mother, daughter

Susana Garcia and her daughter Julia Sterpetti from Buenos Aires have been traveling around Europe and found themselves at the Corpus Christi celebration.

“We went to see the Pope at the Vatican the other day. We met someone who explained to us that the Pope was going to be here, so we decided to come,” Susana said.

They noted they were close to Santa Maria Maggiore and when they realized they could see Pope Francis, couldn’t give up the opportunity.

“The Pope is Argentinian. So it’s a very emotional and exciting moment. Something like this is truly a once in a lifetime experience,” she said. “It’s so important.”

The daughter interjects, chuckling, “She’s about to cry. She will, I can tell.”

“It’s the first time we are in Rome,” Julieta said, “so it’s magical. It’s been perfect and unexpected.”

Father, son

Andrew Moore, a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma, studying abroad in Arezzo, Italy, noted how exciting it was to be present in the Pope’s presence.

“I am not Catholic, but I think what Francis is doing is really incredible,” Andrew said. With the impact Francis has had on him, he noted he recently, during his time in Rome, stood in the Vatican to watch the jumbotron as a Mass was going on in St. Peter’s Basilica.

His father, Kenneth Moore, who is Christian, but works in the Catholic Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa and is married to a Catholic, said “I don’t remember a Pope ever creating this type of buzz.”

“Way back in Tulsa, people can’t stop talking about him. They love him.”

“I am convinced that is because of his humility and because he understands the fundamental needs of the people, because of his background,” he added.

Family with 1st Communion girl

Another family, parents Ronan and Deborah MacDemott, of Rathcoole, County, Dublin, with their children Ciaran, Cormac, and Dervla, spoke to ZENIT.

On how they found themselves at the event, Deborah explained, “We met a lovely Franciscan man, who told us we were meant to be here.”

“We actually thought there was a car accident because all the roads were blocked off,” she said.

“The Franciscan told us there was a procession and that this was really special. There were lots of children we saw dressed up in white for their Holy Communion, she noted. Dervla had made her [first] Communion three weeks ago, and he said, ‘It’s not a coincidence that you are here.”’

“There was a man in his 20s and he was crying. I was crying. It was really, really special. We weren’t expecting to do this.”


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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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