Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Eucharistic Liturgy in Yankee Stadium this afternoon.
Approximately 57,000 people attended the liturgy. The Mass was preceded by a two- hour Concert of Hope, featuring Harry Connick, Jr., Jose Feliciano, Stephanie Mills, Dana, Linera, Ronan Tynan, Marcello Giordani, and area choirs.
The Mass was that for the Fifth Week of Easter and it celebrated the bicentennial of the establishment of the Dioceses of Boston, Louisville (formerly Bardstown), New York, and Philadelphia and the elevation of Baltimore to the first Archdiocese of the United States.
The Holy Father arrived at about 2:15 p.m. and traveled around the stadium in the Popemobile to a great ovation.
Cardinal Edward Egan welcomed the Holy Father to New York. He noted the diocesan anniversaries celebrated in this liturgy. The people punctuated the welcome with many ovations. The Holy Father gave Cardinal Egan a gold vestment as a remembrance of the visit.
The readings were Acts 6:1-7 (read in English), 1 Peter 2:4-9 (read in Spanish), and John 14:1-12 (chanted in English). The Responsorial Psalm was Psalm 33.
Pope Benedict XVI began his homily by noting that the celebration of these anniversaries is a testimony to the growth of the Church in the United States of America. While this growth has not been without its challenges, the Church remains united in the Word of God authentically proclaimed by the Apostles. While words like “authority” and “obedience” are often difficult to hear in contemporary society, believers know that true freedom comes only from self-surrender in love. True freedom is the fruit of conversion.
The Holy Father encouraged the faithful to dedicate their lives in service to God’s kingdom. He called them to “to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations.” Service of the kingdom of God “means overcoming every separation between faith and life, and countering false gospels of freedom and happiness. It also means rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life.”
Pope Benedict gave special encouragement to young people to have the courage to take responsibility for their faith and to proclaim Christ. He called all to renewed zeal in spreading God’s kingdom.
The Holy Father then gave a brief summary of his homily in Spanish.
After the people professed their faith by singing the Credo in Latin, the intercessions of the Prayers of the Faithful were announced in English, Italian, Polish, French, Tagalog, Croatian, and Igbo.
The gifts were presented by several married couples as well as other representatives of the lay faithful.
The Holy Father prayed Eucharistic Prayer I. Cardinal Egan (Archbishop of New York), Cardinal Bertone (Vatican Secretary of State), Cardinal George (Archbishop of Chcago and USCCB President), and Cardinal Rigali (Archbishop of Philiadelphia) prayed parts of the Eucharistic Prayer.
Holy Communion was distributed by the Holy Father and 530 priests and deacons. During the Communion procession, Marcello Giordani or the Metropolitan Opera sang “Panis Angelicus.”
During the final blessing, the Holy Father blessed religious articles brought by the faithful as well as cornerstone for the bicentennial garden of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and a crucifix for the chapel of Saint John Neumann Seminary residence.>.”
As Pope Benedict left the stadium, he greeted many people individually. The people responded with an enormous ovation.
The text of the Holy Father’s homily is posted here.