I knew very little about Pope Francis when I saw him for the first time on a pilgrimage to Rome in April 2013. This was my first trip to Rome and surely my first experience seeing a pope.

Sunday brought us to St. Peter’s Basilica. The magnificence of St. Peter’s is a powerful, palpable thing. Here, 25 years previous, on Trinity Sunday, our pastor was ordained. When Father Tom joined us to celebrate Mass, he was radiant. We could feel his joy and were witness to his serenity. Mass was said in the Chapel of St. Sebastian at the tomb of St. John Paul II, who had ordained Father Tom. We all felt especially blessed. A year of hoping, planning, anticipating had come to fruition.