Province of St. Martin de Porres – Dominicans Meet Pope Francis during the Dominican General Chapter
Submitted by Tom Condon, O.P. (Prior Provincial)
On August 4, at the conclusion of the General Chapter of Bologna, all those gathered for the Chapter, including Provincials, members of the Curia, secretaries, interpreters, translators, and representatives of other branches of the Dominican Family, including nuns, sisters, laity, and Dominican Youth Movement, boarded a train from Bologna to Rome. After the two hour, 10 minute trip, we were taken by chartered buses into the Vatican, through the “back door” that tourists never see. We were escorted down long corridors under the watchful eye of the Swiss guard in their colorful uniforms.
Finally we arrived at a large meeting room, and took seats. After a few minutes, Pope Francis appeared through a side door. We all stood and greeted him with applause. He joked that the Jesuit Pope was meeting that day with the friars (Dominicans, and later that day Franciscans). The Holy Father gave us his blessings and congratulations on our 800th Anniversary Year. Fr. Bruno Cadoré, O.P., Master of the Order, thanked Pope Francis for taking time from his busy schedule to meet with us. After that, each of us was able to approach the Pope individually, which, of course, was a great thrill. The Vatican newspaper took photos of each of us with the Pope. At the conclusion of our individual meetings with him, the Holy Father took time for a few group photos. Then he waved goodbye and he was off to his next appointment.
Among the Americans who attended the session with the Pope, along with myself, were Provincials Ken Letoile (St. Joseph Province), Jim Marchionda (St. Albert the Great Province) and Mark Padrez (Holy Name Province). In addition, moderator Leobardo Almazan and interpreters Cristobal Torres and Juan Torres (all three of St. Martin de Porres Province) attended this historic meeting.