Pilgrimage--Day Four

The big day finally arrived.  Pere Lataste's Beatification was here. We began the day as usual.  Breakfast, and then we prayed Morning Prayer in the chapel.  A bus picked us up and brought us to eat at a new place--the Metropolis.  It's bigger than the diocesan center.

Tomb of Pere Lataste
Afterwards, the bus took us to the Motherhouse of the Dominican sisters of Bethany and the tomb of Pere Lataste.  His chapel is very simple: an all white small room.  In the middle of the floor is a rectangle; this is the tomb of Pere Lataste.  If there weren't a vase of flowers in the center of it, everyone would be walking on it.

One wall has a faint picture of Mary Magdalene and a corner has faces.  These are self portraits--some are of my "cloistered brothers."  I made sure I took a lot of pictures of these.  My "cloistered brothers" will get a kick out of them.

There we met the Vice Postulator, Pere Jean Marie Gueullette, op.  I also met a friend, Father Prakash Anthony Lohale, op.  Since Father Prakash didn't speak anymore French than we did, we stayed together.  We walked around the cemetery visiting Mother Henri Dominique's grave and the other sisters'.
From the Mother House of the Dominican Sisters of Bethany, we went to eat at the Metropolis.  There Father Prak introduced us to Father Vivian Boland, op.  Another one to add to our non-French speaking entourage.  We all ate dinner together.
Across from where we ate was a huge auditorium where the beatification was to take place.  As we walked in, we were given scarves.  On each scarf was stamped the image of Pere Lataste.  Surprisingly, we had reserved seats.  I sat in the third row.  The auditorium was filled to over capacity.   I was told that it held 5000 people and the crowd was estimated to be 5200.

What a joyous occasion! My "cloistered brother," Rocco would say, "Un...believable!"  I will remember this Mass as long as I live.  What an experience!  It truly is the experience of a life time.

Mass began.  The cross, the altar servers, the candle bearers, the incense swingers, and then Ruth, and fr. Remy, and the Lataste family carrying the reliquary, containing some bones and other artifacts from Pere Lataste, the Lector, bishops, the Master General of the Order of Preachers, Sister Sara and Sister Pia Elizabeth, and Cardinal Angelo Amato.     It was a very auspicious procession, very serious, quite somber--except for Ruth.  She was smiling radiantly. Her grin lit up her face.
The main celebrant of the Mass was Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Saints, who was acting in place of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

The music was a little Taize style.  The incense flooded the atmosphere.  I loved it.  The Archbishop of Besancon welcomed everyone.  There were a lot of priest up on the altar.  It looked like about 50 bishops.

When I saw the Master General of the Order of Preachers, Father Bruno Cadore, I remembered something, and my heart dropped to my stomach.  I remembered that I had promised a couple of people that I would get rosaries for them and have them blessed by Cardinal Amato, and the Master, and Pere Lataste.  I had broken my promise.  I was at the tomb of Pere Lataste and could have easily placed the rosaries on his tomb and prayed for his blessing.  But I didn't give my two friends a thought--not a second!  How could I have been so self-absorbed, so self-centered, selfish, so-so-so stupid!  And now here I was down below the altar/stage, out of reach of the Master and Cardinal Amato.  There was no way they could bless the rosaries.  I had blown my chance with my thoughtlessness.  I am such ninny. I hated myself.

However soon I was lost in a dance.  A beautiful interpretive dance quieted the crowd. And the excitement of the people, the music, incense, prayers, singing, etc.  I forgot about my broken promise about getting the rosaries blessed.

During the Mass, a slide show of all the Bethany communities was shown.  And Our Lady of Mercy Chapter was in it!  And I was in it!  At first, I didn't understand how these pictures were taken, but then I remembered that La Vie Catholique came to Our Lady of Mercy Chapter and took pictures for the publication.  They must have given the Beatification committee these photos.

The recessional music was my "cloistered brothers" singing "I've been redeemed."  Everyone was clapping and swinging their scarves in the air.  You would have thought our team had won the soccer tournament.

Then something caught my eye.  I saw Ruth run up the aisle.  I looked at her and then she dropped to her knees.  What?  Why?  Ah...I saw that she was kneeling in front of Pere Lataste's reliquary.

The reliquary.  THE RELIQUARY!

I ran up to the reliquary, too.  Two very stern looking priests were standing guard beside it.  I took the rosaries out of my pocket and motioned to one of the priests that I wanted to place the rosaries on the reliquary.  The priest nodded assent.  So I carefully, but definitely, placed the rosaries on Pere Lataste's reliquary.  I prayed for Pere's intercession and blessing.  I also thanked God for being so good to me.

I could barely believe it.  I felt so blessed.  Deo Gratias.  A couple of hours ago I was despondent because I had broken my promise.  Now God did something better.  It was something better because the reliquary contained first class relics.  And I placed the rosaries on them.  Do you know what that makes the rosaries?  They are now second class relics because they have touched Pere Lataste's relics.

God is so good.

As I was relating this blessing to my group of friends, guess who walked by?  Father Bruno Cadore, the Master General of the Order walked by.  I stopped him and asked him to bless the rosaries.

HE DID.

Deo Gratias!  Oh Lord I am not worthy that You should bless me so much.  I felt humbled by God's generosity.

I am sure that my friends will be pleased and happy when I tell them the story and give them the rosaries.

The blessings continue.  We ate our supper and Sister Renata had a surprise for us.  She had Pere Lataste's rosary.  Yes!  Really!  You see, when he was dying he gave Mother Henri Dominique his rosary.  Mother Henri Dominique passed the rosary to the next Prioress General.  Ever since then, the Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of Bethany has Pere Lataste's rosary.  Sister Pia Elizabeth let Sister Renata have it for the night.

We showed everybody.

We wanted so much to go home and pray on Pere Lataste's beads.  But when we arrived home, we all agreed that we were too tired.  We did promise to meet in the chapel, after breakfast, and then we'd pray a Rosary.

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