A few years back, I was all set to hop on a plane to Rome with my parents for JPII’s beatification.
But then, myself and everyone in my family (except for my dad!) was struck with the flu to end all flus.
(ok, maybe not that bad. But we opted to skip the nine hour flight and not spread our sickness to the poor Romans.)
So today I am happy to report that my parents are flu-free and Romeward-bound with my grandparents.*
*I guess getting married and having a baby disqualifies me from partaking in traveling abroad with my parents as their pretend-only-child. Alas. It was fun while it lasted. And thankfully this has been the only downside I’ve run into so far of marriage/mommyhood
If you only follow one Twitter Account for this Canonization Celebration…
My dad created a public Twitter account so that all of us can follow along on their trip! And I know in this day and age you have many options to choose from for your canonization updates (and Pops doesn’t really care if you follow him or not), but allow me to introduce you to my loving Dad and make the case for why he’s the best guy for the job.
If I’m not forgetting one, this trip to Rome makes number 8 for Dear Old Dad, who first traveled to Rome back in the summer of 2000 as a high school graduation celebration for my oldest brother, Alan. From then on, a tradition was started. Dad would take each of us kids to Rome–the geographic heart of our Catholic faith–when we graduated high school.
My sister’s graduation trip in 2006 turned into a family affair. My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary that year, and they were blessed enough to be able to renew their vows under the altar of Saint Peter’s Basilica, in front of the tomb of the first Pope. (Mom’s parents came, too! They also got to renew their vows and Grandpa, the deacon who assisted at my parents’ wedding mass, was their to witness their vow renewal 25 years later!).
So Dad knows the city. But even more important, Dad loves JPII.
The week JPII passed away, Dad was fighting the urge to drop everything and hop on a plane to be in Saint Peter’s square. I remember sitting in our backyard with my feet in the pool talking to Dad about Pope John Paul II the day he passed away. Dad talked about how fitting it was that JPII passed away the day before Divine Mercy Sunday (I credit that conversation as a beginning to my devotion to Divine Mercy). We talked about how JPII was a father-figure to my dad. We talked about how my dad was looking forward to having a devotion to JPII and beginning a relationship with him as a saint in Heaven.
It’s nuts to think that nine years have passed since that conversation in the backyard with my dad.
Not long after that, my alma mater was founded and named for John Paul the Great (and Dad serves as chairman of JPCatholic’s board of trustees!). It’s crazy to think that Dad–and all of us–have been able to develop a relationship with John Paul II, who can now know our names and our prayers because he is in Heaven with Jesus.
Writing this now, I’m realizing that my life would be very different today if it weren’t for Saint John Paul II.
And in so many ways I have my Dad to thank for that!