Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Francis Effect | National Catholic Reporter

NOTE: This is from a story yesterday by John Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter (soon to be of the Boston Globe!).  This particular story was towards the end of his article about the "Francis Revolution", but I found it extremely touching.  Let's hope that we keep seeing more of this and that our hearts continue to be formed into the loving tender heart of Christ! - FT

A funeral for a homeless man
In late December, a 63-year-old homeless man named Alessandro died during a particularly cold night in Rome, on a street near the Vatican. In itself there was nothing unusual about it in that the streets around the Vatican attract a high population of homeless, and every year, a few pass away during the winter cold.
What followed, however, amounts to another index of the "Francis effect."
Students at the Urban College, a residence for seminarians from the developing world located on the Janiculum Hill across from the Vatican (and next door to the North American College, where seminarians from the United States reside), heard of Alessandro's death and decided they wanted to do something.
They asked authorities at the university for permission to celebrate a funeral, and the idea landed on the desk of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican's missionary department, which oversees the Urban College. Filoni signed on, and the Vatican official responsible for the pope's personal charitable projects, Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, agreed to celebrate the funeral Mass.
On Friday, Filoni, Krajewski, 200 students, and a score of Alessandro's homeless friends in and around the Vatican filed into the chapel at the Urban College to mourn his loss.
Krajewski downplayed his presence: "I'm a bishop of the streets," he said. "It's normal that I would do this."
Still, the press by the students at the Urban College to organize a last gesture of tenderness for a man basically forgotten during life is one indication that the "Francis effect" is reaching down into the next generation of priests and future church leaders.

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