While the sun tried to hide itself behind the mountain range, and as there formed in the sky a spectrum of colors as is usual at sunset, amid the rest of the Chilean mountains a delightful sound was heard from afar.  The peal of bells from surrounding Churches announced that something was happening. An extra joy could be perceived in the air; we turned on the tv… Pope Francis, the vicar of Jesus on earth, had just arrived at Santiago in Chile.

Together with Fr. Damian, the children of the St. John Bosco Home in Argentina entered into our home of mercy, located in Paine, 40 minutes from Santiago.

We had dinner together; it was very enjoyable to see the children of the two homes, together with the religious and other laity who accompanied them, all “at home” like a family, united and sharing in one Ideal.

Afterwards we all departed for Pintana, where we spent the night at the Novitiate.

That Tuesday was almost a “heroic night”, since we tried to rest a bit but had to meet at 1:30am at the parish, together with the members of the Third Order, nearly 40 persons, a priest, and two religious, we went walking through the streets of Pintana in order to catch our bus. It was very amusing. The bus driver, seeing how long it took for us to enter, pay the fare with the traffic card, in one moment became tired and opened the side doors for us, and smiling motioned for us to enter without paying… we filled the bus and began to pray the holy Rosary.

Close to 3:00am we arrived, walked a few blocks down the streets which were open only to pedestrians, and had a good number of persons walking around and selling items. Some bought flags with the papal colors, but at the entrance these were taken by the police since we could not enter with them.

We had about six hours to wait at O Higgins park, but happened to get a spot in front of the altar, Yes!, But below the altar, against the fence. From there we could see the metro. But Br. Brian obtained other tickets even closer, and so we went there. It was precisely a place where two roads met, and where Pope Francis passed twice. The children and us were very happy, we saw the pope only about 1 or 2 meters from us!

At 10:30am the Holy Mass was celebrated in the O Higgins park, some estimate that there were 400,000 persons.

In the homily, the Holy Father encouraged us to seek peace. He challenged the “tranquilizing consumerism” and called us “Blessed are you who let yourselves be affected by the spirit of God and fight and work for this new day, for this new Chile, because the kingdom of heaven shall be for you”. And he said: Do you want peace? Work for peace.

All happened in an atmosphere of order, happiness and recollection. Even in exiting the park, the flow of persons toward the means of public transportation… while we opted to wait with the children of the home in the garden of a service station, taking some refreshments, all very happy, and within a half hour we left for home.

Like Jesus Christ who speaks in his parables of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, of the father who goes out to meet the prodigal son and embraces him, so too, the Holy Father, successor of St. Peter, visited us today, with messages of reconciliation, peace and mercy.

Mercy which is understood when looking at the pierced side of Christ, which St. John speaks of (19:37), and which helps us to understand that “God is love” (1Jn. 4:8) [1]

“It is there [at the Cross] that this truth can be contemplated. It is from there that … the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move.” [2].

Very well… Wednesday afternoon there was an encounter with the youth at the shrine of Maipú, where the successor of St. Peter exhorted us with a phrase of St. Alberto Hurtado, to keep in mind the “connection” with God, and he revealed to us the “access key”, asking ourselves at all times: what would Christ do in my place?

At the Marcelo Morcella Novitiate, on Thursday we had a dinner in order to continue celebrating the Pope’s trip. The girls from the Rosa Giovannetti Home, the youth from St. John Bosco Home (both from Argentina) along with with the children of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Home and the members of the Third Order in Chile came to together.

It was very nice, moving; like when we come together for other feasts in the Homes in Argentina. Little by little one gets a sense of “the dream-come-true of family life”[3].

We looked at pictures and videos of all that took place in these days, all in an festive atmosphere.

We entrust the fruits of this papal visit to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy and Queen of Peace, above all, praying for the conversion of hearts, that many more may unite themselves to Jesus by means of the sacraments and help to build a “civilization of love”[4].

From the Sacred Heart of Jesus Home,

IVE Missionaries in Chile

[1] IVE Directory of the Works of Mercy, pg. 4
[2] Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est, 12.
[3] St. John Bosco, Sueño de una vida familiar, 1884
[4] Const. [492].

 

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