AUSTRALIAN Deacon Nicholas Rynne had the privilege of serving at Pope Francis’ first Pontifical Mass in the Sistine Chapel on March 14.
Deacon Rynne, a deacon for Sydney archdiocese, was raised in Brisbane, attending Villanova College, Coorparoo, and studying law at the University of Queensland.
He was president of the UQ Newman Society and the Australian Catholic Students’ Association.
He said it was an honour to serve Pope Francis’ first Pontifical Mass.
“It was a rare privilege to see the Pope at close hand, and to pray with him. I also had time to pray in the Sistine Chapel,” Deacon Rynne, who is completing his studies in Rome, said.
He prayed for the Holy Father before the Mass, having prayed the Rosary and meditated “upon Michelangelo’s gigantic fresco of the Last Judgment”.
Deacon Rynne said Pope Francis’ homily, like Michelangelo’s fresco, also addressed the wrestle between good and evil, God’s glory and the devil’s damnation.
“The Pope called the College of Cardinals to journey with Christ, to build with Christ and to profess Christ saying, ‘If you don’t pray to Christ you pray to the devil’,” he said.
“He encouraged all to profess Christ crucified if we are to avoid the ways of the world and the devil.”
Deacon Rynne said after seeing Pope Francis briefly after Mass he found him to be “quiet and unassuming”.
Deacon Rynne was ordained a deacon in St Peter’s Basilica on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi last year and he felt it was providential that he should be blessed to serve at Pope Francis’ first Pontifical Mass.
“As this pontificate begins I hope that we will all journey with, build with and profess Christ with the new Holy Father,” he said.