Friars Prepare for Pope Francis’ Visit to Washington DC

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Final Preparations Around The Papal Altar: Fr. Justin Ross, OFM Conv. (left) was intricately involved in the planning and execution of the September 23, 2015 Saint Junipero Serra Canonization Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on the grounds of The Catholic University of America. (Photo Cred)

Our Lady of the Angels Province friars along with all Roman Catholics of the United States of America have been greatly blessed by the Holy Father’s 2015 visit. At his first stop (Washington DC) many friars were able to attend several events, with the bulk of the local friars attending the Saint Junipero Serra Canonization Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on the grounds of The Catholic University of America. We have several friars living on campus in the SS. Francis & Clare Friary, working in the library, as instructors, and in campus ministry there. Those friars worked diligently to help prepare the students and campus for this historic visit. It is imperative to point out the immense contributions of time, talent and skill given by one particular friar, Fr. Justin Ross, OFM Conv.
Fr. Justin was a member of a Liturgy Team of four priests responsible to plan and execute every detail of the Liturgy. This was an incredible undertaking for these four men but the end product was a beautiful Papal Mass, enjoyed by approximately 25,000 ticketed attendees, as well as the thousands who watched it on large screens throughout Washington DC, and those who watched via media outlets. In an excerpt form letter to the friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province, from the Guardian of Fr. Justin’s friary and the Director of Campus Ministry at The Catholic University of America, Fr. Jude DeAngelo, OFM Conv. stated:
… for months (Fr.) Justin has spent countless hours creating registration forms, counting concelebrants, planning and reviewing every detail of the Liturgy.  He has created lists for thousands of priests, volunteers, bishops and staff.  He has created power point presentations (and) addressed the questions and concerns of hundreds of people at meetings … In addition to all of this, he had to re-adjust all of those same lists, power-points, instructions and change details whenever a Church or Homeland Security official decided (a change was warranted) … He dealt with Bishops’ and Cardinals’ last minute requests for their priests and seminarians … He spent many sleepless nights reviewing details, answering countless e-mails (and) creating instructions for volunteers … I saw (Fr.) Justin in many large meetings of laity and clergy answering the same questions over and over again with great charity and patience … some friars may have seen the Mass on TV and may have caught a glimpse or two of (Fr.) Justin … how did one of our own friars got to be so close to the Holy Father and in the “thick of things”?
It is without exaggeration that I say, the Liturgy Team could not have accomplished all of its responsibilities without (Fr.) Justin’s gifts and talents.  Of course the Mass would have happened anyway – but (Fr.) Justin’s skills made things so much easier for the rest of the team. (Fr.) Justin’s work over these past six months was not only a credit to him but to our Province and Order.   He and the other 3 priests worked late into last night (after the Mass) to bring everything back to order so the Shrine (Basilica) and CUA (The Catholic University of America) could re-open this morning without missing a beat.  We all have much to be proud of in our brother, (Fr.) Justin.
Peace,  (Fr.) Jude