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Pope Benedict's Farewell Audience

February 28, 2013:

Email to:  CTU President, Rev. Donald Senior, C.P., and Vice President and Academic Dean, Sr. Barbara Reid, O.P.
From: Fr. Gilberto Cavazos-González, O.F.M., Professor of Spirituality, currently on sabbatical in Rome

Dated: February 27, 2013

Dear Don and Barbara,

I pray you all are doing well.  I am enjoying my time in Rome, researching, writing and teaching, although I confess Pope Benedict's retirement has distracted me at times. 

Today, I spent the whole day at his farewell audience, first at St. Peter's Piazza and then on Facebook.  I have to say I have been genuinely moved by the whole event. While in line to go into the piazza, I was interviewed by ABC News, who contacted me because they know me from CTU.  I made sure they got the Catholic part right as they thought the C was for Chicago.

Anyway, once in the piazza we were fifth row from the front barricade in a piazza that was filled to capacity and spilling over into the Via della Conciliazione. The crowd was enthusiastic and Benedict did not disappoint. His papamobile took him to every section of the piazza so people could get a close look at him.  You could feel the love all around you.

I have to say that I was muy impressed with his farewell speech. It is not often you get to hear a pope reflect on his years of Pertine ministry. We may not always have agreed with his decisions and his stances but to hear him tell his side of the story, you cannot deny he is a man of faith committed to the same Gospel and the same Lord Jesus Christ as we all are.

In his reflections he built on the image of the Church as boat and how in his ministry he has seen the Lord calm the waters and has also felt the Lord asleep in the boat. He even at times has felt like Peter trying to step out onto the water to find himself sinking and in need of being rescued once again by Jesus. He stressed that he and we can never forget that the Lord of the boat is Jesus and Jesus will never abandon ship. 

I notice that CTU is having a Mass for him tomorrow.  What a great idea, I wish I could be with you.  Rest assured I will be with you in spirit as we pray for Pope Benedict and the future Pope.

Blessings on you both during this time of penance and reflection.

paz y bien
Gilberto