An empty seat now, a fuller pew later

After the entrance procession at St. Gabriel Church in Washington today, Father Tom Gude, the pastor and celebrant, noted that he had stayed at the rectory rather than go to the April 17 papal Mass. “It’s just as well,” he said. “About 10 minutes after the Mass started, I got a phone call at the rectory. It was a woman. She asked, `How do I join the Catholic Church?'”

Father Gude added, “She said she had been watching the Mass on TV, and they were playing `Holy God, We Praise Thy Name’ (as Pope Benedict XVI was entering the stadium in his popemobile), and she said, `I was just so moved.'”

During his homily, he brought up again the issue of the woman wanting to join the church. “That whole stadium was singing. Who knows if one person hadn’t been singing, whether that woman would have been moved to call the rectory and want to join the church.”


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