Wednesday, September 23, 2015

As Francis Comes to U.S., I Remember JPII's Visit to My University in 1987 — When the Ceiling Fell

As the current pope comes to the U.S., how can I ever forget the visit of another previous rock-star pope, John Paul II, to the U.S.? When, as he was doing his thing at Xavier University in New Orleans, where I was teaching theology, the ceiling in my office fell down. In just the same way that he and his right-hand man, Cardinal Ratzinger, fell down on one theologian after another, over and over, throughout JPII's long papal reign. As I wrote in 2011, remembering this papal visit:

So the papal visit was worth something, in the end.  The grand avenue near our school got a face lift.  And some of us got cleaner, somewhat renovated office space out of the visit.  Solely because my ceiling caved in while we pretended to be the sort of Catholics who intone the Angelus and Salve Regina in Latin everyday.  While wearing our Sunday best, sober black, in the humid heat of a late-summer day in New Orleans.

The photo from the papal Mass in New Orleans is from the 13 September 1987 edition of the Times-Picayune (/ A-14), at the website.

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