Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review This: Why are Deacons going to Rome the Eternal City!

Rome Here We Come!

Two weeks ago, if you would have told me I was going to Rome, I would have laughed out loud!
It just goes to show you how quickly things can change.

Many of you may know that my Husband is a Permanent Deacon with the Roman Catholic Church here in Toronto.  What does that mean?  Well, to put it in it's simplest terms, a Deacon Serves.  My husband serves by visiting inmates once a week at the local jail/holding facility.  He also visits the elderly at a nursing home, and visits the children in schools (2) in our neighborhood.

We (he and I) entered the Diaconate Program in 2005, went to school for 4 years and then in 2010 Alan became a fully ordained Deacon, while I received a Diploma in Theology.

mass in rome
Deacon Alan as Deacon of the Mass May 29. 2010 with Rev. Bishop Vincent Nguyen officiating.

Our current Pope Francis had called all deacons to Rome, last year.  We did not expect to be in a position to go to Rome, so put it out of our minds.  But, this year, during our anniversary celebration of ordination, with our fellow Deacons (and wives), we were encouraged to come along.  

Now both my husband and I, were in a cross roads.  Circumstances in our lives had changed (not for the better), so a time away to rethink, relax and recommit our lives, seemed to be the order of the day. So that's the background as to why and how we ended up making a quick trip to Rome.

Now the Fun Begins:

What astounds me the most, is that if you are meant to be somewhere, doors will open and things will fall into place, like they were meant to be.  On Saturday May 7th 2016, we found out about this trip and by Monday May 9th, airline, hotel and everything else that needed to be booked to get us to Rome, was indeed booked.

Second Thoughts:

What hadn't occurred to us, was that there was a cut-off date for those Deacons who were going to show up in Rome, to make themselves known to Vatican staff.  So to our dismay, we looked and found out that the closing date for this Once in a Lifetime opportunity was March 31, 2016! 

When God wants you to be somewhere, He opens the door and let's you walk through.  We e-mailed the Vatican, let them know that we were really late in getting our applications done and waited.  I was on pins and needles, the Deacon, he just smiled and said, "If we are supposed to be there, we will be accepted."  What he didn't realize is that I had already paid for the airline tickets......

As reported earlier, If He Wants You There:

He will make sure that you are accepted.  Within 24 hours (a very tense 24 hours for me), we had our answer.  Rome (the Vatican official responsible for this Deacon's Call) let us know that they would be so happy to have us join them.  To say that I was relieved is the understatement of the century.  But there we had it in writing, we are called to join our Pope Francis on May 27, 28 and 29th culminating in the Celebration of the Eucharist with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on Sunday May 29th.  It doesn't get any better than this!

st peters square in rome
Looking out over St. Peter's Square

dome in st peters basilica in rome
Inside the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica
pope francis
Pope Francis with the children

We are delighted, elated and thank God for giving us this opportunity, not only to go to Rome, but to be able to speak with Pope Francis on topics that relate to us, in our ministry here at home.  Both Deacon Alan and I are elated at this chance to speak with a Pope that we feel understands, is sympathetic, and empathetic to the needs of the Church abroad.  This meeting should be really interesting, since just last week, he (the Pope) was speaking about the role of women in the church!  I know many North Americans are really interested in that subject. Hopefully, we can be the voice of some of the people here in North America and that he will take what we say and take them to heart.

Now we are scrambling:

Not only to get everything we need in order, but also to get Rome maps, tourist guides and a sense of what we want to see.  Good walking shoes are on the agenda, blisters do not make for happy feet and we only have 7 days to do all the sights, picture taking and eating that glorious Roman cuisine, so we better have a plan in mind.

Cameras are ready, extra batteries, medications, passports, suitcases and hundreds of other little necessities are piling up on my dining room table.  Rome guides are ordered and should be here soon. Now we just have to be patient until the 23rd of May, when we will be flying out of Toronto on our Way to the Eternal City, ROME!

By the time you are reading this review, we will be on our way home from Rome.  We arrive on June 1st, late in the evening, God Willing.  

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  1. Wow. What a marvelous reason to go to Rome. I know your experience was wonderful and your meeting with Pope Francis a very special moment. I look forward to more details in your next article.

  2. How amazing is that, it sounds like a trip of a lifetime and to able to meet the pope. Traveling to Italy is on our list, but I don't think we will be able to meet the pope. I'm so happy that you and your husband had this opportunity. Can't wait to hear more!!

  3. We've been to Rome a few times, but I have never met the Pope! That's pretty cool Olivia. It is wonderful that you and your husband were able go. I look forward to hearing all about your trip, what you saw, and how you felt about it. It will be especially interesting to find out if you felt the Pope was open to hearing your concerns. But most of all, I want to know about your experience if you went inside the Colosseum. I don't believe I have ever been anywhere that affected me as profoundly as the Colosseum did.

  4. What an amazing story, Olivia! God does open doors, for sure. I am just positive you've experienced a trip of a lifetime and can't wait to hear more about it when you're back and rested. Thank you so much for taking little Jack's situation before the Pope. When you told me you were planning to do that, I had no idea exactly why you would have that opportunity, so reading this put an extra-big smile on my face this morning when I read the details.

  5. Wow, I hope your trip was everything you wanted it to be. Rome is one of my favorite cities on earth.

  6. Thank you all for your comments, I am home safe and sound, refreshed and elated. Rome was everything I remember and more. More will follow......

  7. how incredibly exciting! a trip of a lifetime for sure. You also got to see the cool!

  8. I'm glad you are safely home. What a fabulous trip it must have been. I've never been to Rome, and will probably never get there, so I'll depend on hearing more about it from you.


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