HOLY Spirit Provincial Seminary students and deacons prayed and met with Pope Francis on a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Rome.
Twelve seminary students, two deacons, seminary rector Monsignor Tony Randazzo, Brisbane archdiocese’s vocations director Fr Morgan Batt and seminary spiritual director Carmelite Father Paul Chandler attended Mass at Casa Santa Maria with Pope Francis on December 23.
After Mass, the group briefly met with the Pope for an official photograph.
The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household released a report on January 2 stating 6.6 million people attended Vatican City events with Pope Francis in 2013.
Brisbane seminarian pilgrims now add their names to the list of those who have not only attended Vatican City events with the Holy Father, but have also met him in person.
One of Brisbane’s newest deacons, Marty Larsen said meeting Pope Francis “allowed the pilgrimage to go full circle”.
“We were very blessed and fortunate to attend a weekday Mass with the Holy Father in his private chapel and then to meet him briefly afterwards,” Deacon Larsen said.
“We met a diverse range of Christians throughout the pilgrimage, and meeting the Holy Father allowed us to experience the humility and depth of faith as expressed in this holy man.
“It was a true encounter into how our faith is lived out, through Pope Francis.”
Deacon Larsen said visiting the Holy Land and Rome, two vastly different locations, was a reminder that he and his fellow “future priests” were part of the universal Church.
“Both experiences have given us insight into who Jesus Christ is for us today and also a rich insight into Church as it is expressed in Rome.”