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Saint Josemaria meets a Pope for the first time

Tags: Church, Pope, Rome
June 23rd, 1946. It was nine-thirty when they reached home, an apartment at 9 Piazza della Citta Leonina, just a few yards away from the wall connecting the Vatican with Castel Sant’Angelo.

The apartment, which Don Alvaro had taken shortly before the Father arrived, was on the top floor of the building. Its open balcony, a sheltered terrace, looked out on the Bernini Colonnade and St. Peter’s Square. The lighted window of the Pope’s private library was plainly visible. This view, deeply moving to the Father, drove away any thought of sleep. While the rest went to bed, he remained on the terrace.

He had spent the whole of that rainy day praying for the Pope as he drew nearer to the Eternal City. The desire to see Peter (videre Petrum) had been with him for years. In The Way he expressed it like this:

“Catholic, apostolic, Roman! I want you to be very Roman, ever anxious to make your “pilgrimage” to Rome videre Petrum—to see Peter.”
Now he could see the windows of the papal apartments, and he felt a deep affection—affection he had also expressed in The Way (no. 573): “Thank you, my God, for placing in my heart such love for the Pope.”

Meeting the Holy Father for the first time
On July 15, Father Josemaria returned to Rome, for the private audience with Pope Pius scheduled for the next day. He looked forward to opening his heart to the Holy Father and bringing him up to date on the work accomplished in the last few days in Fiuggi. The audience left him filled with great peace and happiness.

An extract of The Founder of Opus Dei Volume III, by Vasquez de Prada

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