But for you to appreciate the significance of what happened this night, you have to understand what we’ve been laughing about this past week, especially in the hours before Fr. Tom gave his last talk at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Payneham.
First, with regards to Fr. Stefano Cascio -- we’ve been teasing him about him being the next pope. I can’t remember how this started, but it’s been the week’s joke. He was teasing us at the same time, about what his first papal address would be, who would be his Fr. Lombardi [director of the Vatican Press Office], and how he would send me to a convent to pray for his papacy.
We were teasing Fr. Tom as well. Marie-Jeunesse
had written a funny song about Fr. Tom, and I had recently met a priest who told me of how saintly he thinks Fr. Tom is.
So back to the very special thing that happened at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church….. At the end of the Mass, after Fr. Tom had given his talk, the parish priest, Fr. Alan Winter, addressed the congregation:
“I’d like to thank our visiting priests for being present with us today…. I invite you now to go for coffee and tea in our hall across from the Church. Take this opportunity to talk to Fr. Thomas Rosica and Fr. Stefano Cascio, ‘cause you never know who they could really be in the future! One time I was with a visiting bishop who, after he died, was beatified, on his way to being proclaimed a saint. I can honestly say that I spent some time with a saint! Tonight, you have these two visitors. Please spend time to talk to them because you just never know. Who knows, Fr. Thomas Rosica can be a future Saint! And Fr. Stefano, he could be a future Pope!”
Hearing all this, Fr. Tom, Stefano, Kris, Richard, John and I cracked up. This is way more than just mere coincidence.
After Mass, Fr. Tom and Fr. Stefano were bombarded by crowds of people, who asked them questions about St. Gianna Molla, Salt + Light Television, and who stood in line for priestly blessings as well. Their faith was just incredible!