Wednesday, April 06, 2005

local dioceses hold memorial services for john paul; and a papal anecdote

Yesterday evening the local dioceses here in the San Francisco Bay Area held memorial services in their respective cathedrals for John Paul. I had thought of going to the Archdiocese of San Francisco's service last night at St. Mary's Cathedral but ended up going to a smaller diocesan service in Oakland. I heard St. Mary's Cathedral in SF last night was standing-room-only and that the archbishop gave a very good homily on the achievements of John Paul. The Orthodox bishop was there as well as leaders from other non-Catholic religious communities. I thought that was good.

The service in Oakland was a smaller one. It wasn't standing-room-only, but it was well-attended. The diocese doesn't have a cathedral, but is under construction. Having a cathedral really helps to draw the local faithful to a diocesan-wide event. The bishop there dwelt on the meaning of the mystery of God as our Father forever and that God is so inasmuch as we are united with Christ. I thought that was a very fine reflection on the meaning of God as "Father," drawing upon one of John Paul's title as "Holy Father."

The service at the diocese of San Jose at St. Joseph's Cathedral was also SRO to my knowledge. The bishop there was once the rector of St. Mary's Cathedral in SF when John Paul visited San Francisco in 1987. For the reception for John Paul after a liturgical service at the Cathedral, the wineries from Northern California's Napa Valley took great pains to lay out all their choicest and best wines for John Paul for that occasion. California is known for its quality wines. Well, at the reception, the rector asked John Paul, "Holy Father, would you like some wine," as he pointed to a long table decked with California's best. Then John Paul said, "I will have beer."

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