I was surprised by the number of people at the 5:00 Mass at St. Peter's this evening. Usually, Wednesday evenings are rather sparsely attended. I was being edified by the increase in devotion when it hit me: these must be Holy Name Cathedral's daily Mass people, exiled (again) from the edifice--this time because of fire.
Sr. Irene Regina was on her way to the 6:00 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral when a woman in uniform stopped her. Sr. Irene thought there was some mistake, so she said, "I'm just going to Church." "There ain't no Church today," came the reply. Not until she had crossed the street on her way home did Sr. Irene look up and see the Cathedral roof in flames. This is a Cathedral that had been closed for eight months last year while the ceiling was repaired. This time it's the roof, and serious water damage to the sanctuary. I'm praying for the poor pastor who has to face such a nightmare.
God be praised, in both cases, no one was hurt, although the firefighters did suffer quite a bit from the cold.
Meanwhile, across the ocean...while the firefighters were sending streams of icy water to the roof of Holy Name, the Holy Father was speaking to the usual Wednesday crowds about St. Paul. In highlighting the Apostle's spiritual heritage, he noted the number of religious communities that have sprung up under Paul's patronage, and specifically mentioned the Paulist Fathers ("The Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle") and the "many-faceted Pauline Family founded by Blessed James Alberione."