At every venue where I experienced Pope Benedict’s presence in New York, the spirit was electric. From the exuberance of the 57,000 faithful at Yankee Stadium to the quieter, but just as enthusiastic, response of clergy, religious and laity at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the atmosphere was filled with joy.
In Yankee Stadium, I joined hundreds of other priests, to concelebrate Mass with the Pope. It was an enormous privilege for me to represent our archdiocese and to greet the Holy Father personally at the conclusion of Mass. I particularly appreciated the ways the Bicentennial dioceses were honored and celebrated.
I was moved by the Holy Father’s homily at St. Patrick’s Cathedral when he called for a new Pentecost, a new spring for the Church in America. At the end of Mass, he spoke without notes, expressing his appreciation, love and support for us and asking for our prayers to help him fulfill his obligations as successor of Peter.
Reflecting on the Papal visit, I am struck by what a wonderful pastor Pope Benedict is. As Cardinal Ratzinger, he was well known for his scholarship. But his ministry and words in America have highlighted his great love for his Catholic family.
Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Ph.D., V.G.
Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia
Archdiocese of Boston
From left to right: Fr. Arthur Coyle; Brother Jim Peterson, OFM Cap; Fr. Richard Erikson; Sr. Marian Batho, CSJ, all of the Archdiocese of Boston, outside St. Patrick’s Catedral, April 19, 2008 (Photo courtesy of Father Erikson)