Sunday, 1 May 2011

My photos with Blessed Pope John Paul II


I have met two Beati in my life (so far!). I don't have a photo of my meeting Blessed Teresa of Calcutta but I do have photos of some of the occasions when I met Blessed Pope John Paul II. The above one is from 8 October 1980, shortly after I arrived in Rome. We were taken to the General Audience as part of our introduction to the Holy City and got to the barrier where the Pope went by.

The next is at S Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini on the pastoral visit of Blessed John Paul on 9 March 1981. I was the server carrying his pastoral cross - on the right in the picture:


and here we are in the sacristy after Mass:


Now for my two favourite photos. These were taken shortly after my ordination to the Diaconate at Palazzola by the late Bishop Cyril Restiaux of Plymouth in July 1983. The newly-ordained Deacons were invited to the private Mass of Blessed John Paul at Castelgandolfo, together with our parents. Here is the Pope with myself and my mother, Frankie:


First of all, Blessed John Paul said to me "Your mother is very young." Afterwards I joked to my mother that I would request a new edition of Denzinger with the entry "De iuventute matris Timothei Finigan". As you can see, my mother was on crutches. This meant that we could take the lift up to meet the Pope - it had been installed by the Blessed Pope John XXIII.

The Holy Father asked my mother how she had broken her leg. "Playing cricket, Holy Father." Then, and I tell no lie, the Blessed Holy Father said "What is cricket?" We laughed and asked him how much time we were allowed. To rescue the situation, I said "It is a very English game, Holy Father."

Here is a picture with my Father, John, next to Blessed John Paul:


Do remember my dear parents in your prayers. I have offered many plenary indulgences for them per modum suffragii so I hope that for at least one of them I will have had the requisite dispositions and that they will be rejoicing in heaven with the Blessed Pope that they loved so much. Meeting him was, I think, one of the most joyful moments of their lives.
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