Friday the 25th was quite a day—and a long one! Fr. Dennis, Fr. Bill, and I went to Madison Square Garden to celebrate Mass with Pope Francis. From the time we left home until I got back, it was 9 hours. We took Metro North and got to Grand Central in the usual half-hour, then walked 10 short blocks south and 3 long blocks west to MSG, where there was a huge crowd waiting for entry; and that took a long time with only one way in and TSA security (tho not as stringent as at an airport).
We were seated, but not together, by 2:30 p.m. and then had a long wait. Fr. Rich from the high school and some Ursulines came down with us but we didn’t see them again after Grand Central. The SDB priests from Port Chester were seated near me, and I chatted with a couple during the long wait for the Pope’s arrival, as the Garden slowly filled. According to the NYT there were 20,000 people there. Certainly there were hundreds of priests concelebrating (and more than 40 bishops and cardinals). There was over an hour of big-name entertainment (Martin Sheen, Jennifer Hudson, Gloria Estefan, Harry Connick Jr) and some good (not big name) choirs, and the Rosary, as we waited. I also brought some magazines with me to read on the train and at MSG.
Francis arrived early, and Mass started early. He got a roaring welcome, and at the end of Mass, when Cardinal Dolan voiced the love of the American Church for Francis, a long standing ovation (this is only part of it):
The Pope preached in Spanish but also spoke some English. The Eucharistic Prayer and some of the music were in Latin. My photos are at https://
Salesian Missions placed a full-page ad in USA Today’s special edition on Pope Francis (p. 88). The communications office (c'est moi) organized the Salesians' "Welcome, Pope Francis" ad that ran in Catholic NY on 9/27.