Prayer service brings pilgrims together
The canonization ceremony for two upstate saints is drawing near. Our Bill Carey is at the Vatican this week for the special mass. He tells us how soon-to-be Saint Marianne is bringing people together this weekend.
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VATICAN CITY -- They are thousands of miles from home, traveling in separate groups. Yet they found themselves coming together in a working class neighborhood near Vatican City. The pilgrims gathered at St. Gregory's Church in Rome. It is one of the Pope's churches in the city, and they held a ceremony known as vespers, which is a prayer service.
It is a ceremony filled with praise for Mother Marianne Cope, who is now called Saint Marianne.
"As the sun is setting, our next day is beginning. And so, what we're saying is, this is the opportunity for prayer before the canonization itself. It is to take all the hustle and bustle that's all of a sudden quieted around us and make this an important moment, because we're here to be sanctified," explained Father John Donovan, Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese.
It has been a non-stop trip for these groups, touring holy sites, visiting ancient ruins. In this church, though, they focused on the life of Marianne Cope, and her work in Hawaii, as well as her ties to Central New York.
"Walked our streets. Set up hospitals, and just king to every person that she interacted with. So, I think she's just a model for all of us," said Helen Scanlon, Syracuse resident.
The service included a reading, quoting a letter that she had written to a nephew. It expressed gratefulness for the path she followed in life. She ended the letter saying she did not expect a high place in heaven. "I will be thankful for a little corner," said Cope in the letter. On Sunday, Pope Benedict will declare that her wish was granted.