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the unexpected always happens (yogi berra)
by gonzalo fernández

I took a Mediterranean cruise with my family.

Our cruise second port was Civitavecchia, a town and comune of the province of Rome in the central Italian region of Lazio. A sea port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is located 80 kilometers west-north-west of Rome. It was Wednesday June 30, 2010.

We took a train to a station in Rome, near the Vatican. When we walked some 300 meters into Saint Peter's Square we were surprised to find many people there, and shortly after that we came to realize that there was an important gathering. The Pope's Chair was under a tent some twenty steps up from the square level, bands were playing, dignitaries were seated at both sides of the Pope's tent. Someone said that the Pope would appear in 15 minutes. We heard that General Audiences were schedule usually on Wednesdays. And we knew nothing about all of this; we were there by chance!

The Pope came out in his popemobile and rode around the crowd at both sides of a narrow pass at St. Peter's Square. The Pope presided a Mass.

My internet search provided the following information:

Saint Peter's Square
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have just come to the end of the Year for Priests: a time of grace that has yielded and will yield precious fruits for the Church; an opportunity to remember in prayer all those who have responded to this particular calling. The Curé d'Ars and other holy priests have accompanied us on this journey as models and intercessors, true beacons in the history of the Church. Today, as I announced last Wednesday, I would like to recall another of them, who stands out from the group of "social saints" of Turin in the 19th century: it is St Joseph Cafasso.

Joseph Cafasso died on 23 June 1860, after a life offered entirely to the Lord and spent for his neighbour. My Predecessor, the Venerable Servant of God Pope Pius XII, proclaimed him Patron of Italian prisons on 9 April 1948, and, with his Apostolic Exhortation Menti Nostrae, on 23 September 1950 held him up as a model to priests engaged in Confession and in spiritual direction.
Dear brothers and sisters, may St Joseph Cafasso's example serve as a reminder to all to hasten towards the perfection of Christian life, towards holiness. In particular, may this Saint remind priests of the importance of devoting time to the sacrament of Reconciliation and to spiritual direction, and to all the concern we should have for the most deprived. May we find help in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom St Joseph Cafasso was very devoted and whom he called "Our beloved Mother, our consolation, our hope".

Yesterday, on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, I conferred the Pallium upon thirty-eight Archbishops from throughout the world. I would now like to greet the English-speaking Archbishops present at today’s Audience, together with their family members and the pilgrimage groups which accompanied them to the Tombs of the Apostles:
I also greet the many other English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present at today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Scotland, Ireland, Ghana, Palestine, the Philippines, South Korea, Canada and the United States of America. I thank the Schola Cantorum of Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.


Gonzalo is a business consultant. He is one of the coauthors of The Handbook of Financing Growth, Wiley, Second Edition, 2009, Marks, Robbins, Fernández, Funkhouser and Williams. In Cuba's Primer, Lulu, 2009, he writes with the conviction and knowledge of a personal witness.

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