The Divine Presence

... I thought that might have been you.

by Joe Sullivan

Father Jim Canniff was filling in for Incarnation Parish’s Pastor Steve Boyle at the nine o’clock morning mass.
It was Thursday, March 14, the day after a Conclave of Cardinals had elected a new Pope, Francis the First.

During his homily Father Canniff remarked that he, too, had been in a packed crowd in St. Peter’s Square waiting
for the appearance of a Pope who had been newly elected. He said he had been completely caught up in the
thrilling excitement when the  new Pope, John Paul II stepped out onto the balcony to greet and bless the now
roaring crowd.

The priest reminisced that many years later he was in Rome to celebrate a landmark anniversary of his
ordination. Part of the occasion was that he and a small number of priests who were celebrating their own
anniversary, attended morning mass with John Paul II in a small chapel in St. Peter’s.

After the mass the group moved to a small reception room where the celebrating priests formed a line. The Pope
then moved slowly down the line shaking hands with each priest.

Father Canniff said that he had become quite excited in anticipation of his turn. When it came he took the
Pope’s extended hand in both of his. Shaking the Pope’s hand with great enthusiasm he said, “Holy Father, I was
here when you were elected!”

John Paul II looked into his face and said, “You were here?”

“Yes, I was!”, he responded.

With an mischievous grin the Holy Father said, “So was I.”  

April 5, 2013

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