St. Joseph is the "Quiet Man." who speaks not a word in the Scriptures. Yet he is the Patron of the Universal Church, Foster Father of Jesus Christ, and Spouse of the Virgin Mary. St. Joseph too is Patron of all fathers of families, of carpenters, builders, of families and more. It is especially fitting that today in Rome Pope Francis celebrated his inaugural Mass on this day which commemorates St. Joseph. It is a day when the Gloria--usually not prayed in Lent--is recited or sung, and the Creed is recited at all Masses too.
I just finished watching the inaugural Mass on the Vatican's TV service.
There were no commentaries, just the filming of the Pope's entrance into St. Peter's riding the uncovered Pope Mobile.
From his elevated Pope Mobile Francis noticed a young man holding up a crippled elderly man. The Pope descended his vehicle and went up to the railing to embrace the handicapped gentleman. The elder person's face broke into a huge smile. It was a touching scene.
Having been in St. Peter's several times and also having spent hours straining to see the late John Paul II, I could almost feel myself present in the crowds greeting Pope Francis.
The Mass was celebrated in Latin; the readings were in English and Spanish; a choir boy led the assembly in Latin by singing the responsorial psalm. A deacon sang the gospel of Matthew in Greek. At Papal Masses, Greek is used to represent the eastern "lung" of the church. The other "lung" is the west which uses Latin as its main liturgical language.
The Pope's homily centered on taking care of the poor among us, but also taking care of ourselves too. He said we should not be afraid to love tenderly. Tenderness is not a sign of weakness, he pointed out, but a sign of strength.
Before the Mass began Pope Francis received the pallium, a circle of white wool with five crosses which symbolizes his role as chief pastor of the Church. He also received a ring -- the Fisherman's Ring--symbol of his role as successor of Peter. Again at the end of his homily he asked us to pray for him. May we pray for him and listen to his words. If we practice what he is preaching, God's kingdom will grow on this earth.
Earlier today I read Pope Francis' pastoral letter to his Buenos Aires Archdiocese for Lent. It is available on line in this week's installment of our Discover Hope newsletter. (To subscribe to Pauline Books & Media's Discover Hope weekly newsletter, email: email@example.com.)