The Rose That Is Yours
Was this mass for real or was I just making
it up in my imagination? The setting was
unbelievingly beautiful, a huge chapel resembling
a spacecraft with huge concrete rings as
the ceiling and an enormous icon at the back.
The table-altar was big, in the middle, decorated
with exquisite flowers. The singing was strong
and powerful. Communion was seated, under
both species, for everyone.
Over two hundred priests were concelebrating,
including eight Bishops. Then, there
over one thousand (yes, 1000) seminarians
already in different Redemptoris Mater
in Europe and, besides these, two hundred
and sixteen youth (yes, 216) eager
And during this Eucharist, three more
seminaries (Pakistan, Tanzania, and
Spain) were erected to the already
one (61) existing.
I kept pinching myself to make sure
not dreaming. But no, this was all
"Your presence here contests strongly
the prevalent belief that there are
vocations in our contemporary world",
greeted the assembly Mgr. Rylko, President
of the Pontifical Council for Laity,
came straight from the Vatican for
Mgr Rylko was one of the most intimate
of Pope John Paul II and was one of
few who was present when he died. He
respected by Pope Benedict XVI
It was all happening, just over a month
in a beautiful sea town called Porto
Giorgio on the Adriatic Sea in Italy.
near of Loreto, the place where the
of Nazareth lies.
The question that obviously pops in
is simple. How is it that while in
the Church is languishing and many
the Church old fashioned and dried
in Porto San Giorgio there was so much
What is the basic input that these
realities, like the Neocatechumenal
are giving to the Church? How is it
while the great majority of youth shy
and even laugh scornfully at the mere
of becoming priests, here there were
who want to serve the Church as priests?
It may be true that the Church is in
but it is very important to remember
the word 'crisis' has two meanings.
is the familiar sense of the word:
is a shattering upheaval, a breaking-up
what had seemed unchanging and sure.
the Bible also speaks of 'crisis' as
a moment ripe with the potential for
George Weigel states bluntly that "every
crisis in Catholic history is a crisis
by an insufficiency of saints, by a
in sanctity". This is where all
priests and laypeople, need to invest
What the fox tells the Little Prince
famous novel of Antoine de Saint Exupéry
is so relevant. "It is the time
have wasted for your rose that makes
rose so important."
"It is the time I have wasted
rose…" said the little prince,
he would be sure to remember.
"Men have forgotten this truth,"
said the fox. "But you must not
it. You become responsible, forever,
what you have tamed. You are responsible
for your rose . . ."
"I am responsible for my rose,"
the little prince repeated, so that
be sure to remember.
Faith is a gift that needs to be 'tamed'
and nurtured. One needs to be taught
time on it. Christians are made not
We cannot take faith for granted any
"Today we need to teach our parishioners,
Chamorros and Carolinians, how to become
Christians", Bishop Tomas Camacho
perceivingly a few years ago at San
All of us have a responsibility for
turn this crisis-as-cataclysm into
Pastors need to create spaces in the
where people can be initiated into
and … vocations will come. "I
busy" many a priest says. Well,
we always have time for what we place
Parents need to invest more energy
faith to their children and …vocations
come. Part time faith, as a part time
will not fully support you and your
Let those who claim to believe, manifest
in their mind-set that life is both
and mysterious and … vocations will
"The greatest honor you can give
Almighty God is to live gladly, joyfully
because of the knowledge of His love,"
once uttered an English mystic, Julian
Norwich. This needs to be visibilized.
Before converting, Gerard Manley Hopkins,
the English Jesuit poet, wrote to his
"The Catholic system ... only
to be known in order to be loved -
its marvelous ideal of holiness, the
and devotion of its children, its multiplicity,
its array of saints and martyrs, its
and unity, its glowing prayers, the
majesty of its claims." A rhapsodic
In the mid 30s, as totalitarian shadows
across Europe, Pope Pius XI remarkably
"Let us thank God that he makes
among the present problems. It is no
permitted to anyone to be mediocre."
The rose can be ours to enjoy and let
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright