• A deacon distributes Communion April 20 in the upper deck of New York's Yankee Stadium, where Pope Benedict XVI was celebrating Mass for approximately 60,000 people on the final day of his visit to the U.S.
    A deacon distributes Communion April 20 in the upper deck of New York's Yankee Stadium, where Pope Benedict XVI was celebrating Mass for approximately 60,000 people on the final day of his visit to the U.S.

College students hear pope's message of freedom

By Amy Kotlarz/Catholic Courier    |    12.20.2009
Category: Young Adult


Travel to New York for the papal Mass at Yankee Stadium went smoothly for a group of about 56 students and staff from the University of Rochester’s Newman Community, said Peter Dwyer, campus minister with the community.

During his homily at Yankee Stadium, the pope focused on the immigrant church, Dwyer said. The Mass -- which celebrated the 200th anniversary of the creation of the archdioceses of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville from the original Diocese of Baltimore -- included portions in such languages as Spanish, Croatian and Polish.

"In this land of religious liberty, Catholics found freedom not only to practice their faith, but also to participate fully in civic life, bringing their deepest moral convictions to the public square and cooperating with their neighbors in shaping a vibrant, democratic society," Pope Benedict XVI said, according to a text of his speech on the Vatican’s Web site.

The pontiff encouraged those gathered to use their freedoms wisely to build a future of hope for coming generations.

Although the pope’s voice was soft and had a heavy German accent, the University of Rochester students still were attentive to his message, and several looked up his homily upon their return home to study it further, Dwyer said.

"People were really struck by how carefully worded his homily was," he said. "His intelligence came across very clearly."

Since the trip, several University of Rochester students have posted pictures of the Mass on their social-networking Web sites, such as Facebook. The pictures included shots of how Yankee Stadium had been transformed into a place of worship and of the men and women religious who were participating in the Mass.

The students arrived in New York City on April 19 and had several hours free to go sightseeing in the evening, Dwyer said. Some students journeyed to Central Park, Times Square and lower Manhattan.

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