From Cardinal Seán's blog

Last Thursday evening, the Paraguayan Embassy had a dinner in honor of Cardinal Alberto Martinez, and they invited me and Mario Paredes to attend.

It was a wonderful event, and I was happy to be a part of it.

Mass at St. Clementine Chapel

Then, on Friday, I had Mass in the Clementine Chapel, which is very near the Tomb of St. Peter.

Just outside the chapel is the tomb of Pope Pius XII.


The following morning was the consistory for the creation of 21 new cardinals, among them the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Cardinal Christophe Pierre. There was also a Capuchin who was made a cardinal, Cardinal Luis Pascual Dri, but he is in his late 90s, so he was not able to attend in person.

The Mass was held in St. Peter's Square, and it was a beautiful day to have an outdoor Mass.

As is tradition, after the consistory, the new cardinals greeted the public in the Apostolic Palace.

While I was there, I ran to the Cardinal Garcia from Cuba.

I was also very happy to see Father Brian Stacy, the Guardian at Capuchin College, who was in Rome for meetings.

Ecumenical prayer vigil

Then, in the afternoon, those of us who are participating in the Synod of Bishops joined an ecumenical prayer vigil that included leaders of many different faith communities, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

It was a very moving and beautiful celebration with a huge crowd in attendance.


That evening, we began our retreat in preparation for the synod.

It was held at the Fraterna Domus, a retreat center outside of Rome that can accommodate over 800 people. It really is an extraordinary place that seems almost like a village unto itself.

During the retreat, we heard talks by Father Timothy Radcliffe, and Mother Maria Angelini gave meditations twice a day. It was a very good retreat, and I think people benefited greatly from it.

At the retreat, I was very happy to see Margaret Karram, the president of the Focolare Movement who succeeded Chiara Lubich.

Capuchins in Rome

The retreat ended Tuesday evening, and that night, I went to the house of the Capuchins in Rome to celebrate the Transitus of St. Francis.

The feast of St. Francis is, of course, Oct. 4, and Franciscans throughout the world gather the evening before to celebrate the commemoration of his death with a service in which we listen to the Gospel St. Francis had read to him as he was dying, sing the Canticle of Brother Sun, and pray Psalm 142.

I always find it a very moving ceremony, and I was happy to celebrate it with the friars here in Rome.

Among those who were with us was Cardinal Celestino Aos. He is also a Capuchin, and, as you can see, there's a bit of a resemblance.