The 200th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s designation as an archdiocese (the nation’s first), as well as the birth of four other archdioceses: New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Bardstown (now Louisville) will be highlighted during the Mass.
- 9:00 a.m. - Gates open
- 12:00 noon - The pre-Mass concert begins
- 2:15 p.m. - The Pope arrives
- 2:20 p.m. - The Pope travels around the track inside the stadium in the popemobile
- 2:30 p.m. - Mass begins
- 5:00 p.m. - Mass ends
... The first reading also makes clear, as we see from the imposition of hands on the first deacons, that the Church's unity is "apostolic". It is a visible unity, grounded in the Apostles whom Christ chose and appointed as witnesses to his resurrection, and it is born of what the Scriptures call "the obedience of faith" (Rom 1:5; cf. Acts 6:7).
"Authority", "obedience". To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a "stumbling stone" for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ - "the way and the truth and the life" - we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. "In his will is our peace".
Real freedom, then, is God's gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality. When we put on "the mind of Christ" (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us! In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world. We become the light of the world, the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-14), entrusted with the "apostolate" of making our own lives, and the world in which we live, conform ever more fully to God's saving plan.
This magnificent vision of a world being transformed by the liberating truth of the Gospel is reflected in the description of the Church found in today's second reading. The Apostle tells us that Christ, risen from the dead, is the keystone of a great temple which is even now rising in the Spirit. And we, the members of his body, through Baptism have become "living stones" in that temple, sharing in the life of God by grace, blessed with the freedom of the sons of God, and empowered to offer spiritual sacrifices pleasing to him (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). And what is this offering which we are called to make, if not to direct our every thought, word and action to the truth of the Gospel and to harness all our energies in the service of God's Kingdom? Only in this way can we build with God, on the one foundation which is Christ (cf. 1 Cor 3:11). Only in this way can we build something that will truly endure. Only in this way can our lives find ultimate meaning and bear lasting fruit. ...
Coverage & Commentary
- Benedict Celebrates Mass at Yankee Stadium, by Sewell Chan. New York Times' "City Room" - continually updated during the course of the Mass.
- Discussion: Open Yankee Stadium Liturgy Thread @ Amy Welborn's.
- New Liturgical Movement provides ongoing images and commentary of the Pope's Mass in New York City.
- Canterbury Tales provides us with The Music for the Papal Mass in New York City -- it appears that Dr. Jennifer Pascual (Director of Music) has been far more attentive in choosing what the Pope would appreciate in accordance with his writings on the liturgy.
- Build on 'impressive legacy' of U.S. church, pope urges at final Mass Catholic News Service. April 20, 2008:
Honoring the bicentennial of four U.S. archdioceses, Pope Benedict XVI praised the "solid foundations" of the American Catholic Church and said "the future of the church in America" must continue to build on that "impressive legacy."
But in his homily for the final Mass of his April 15-20 U.S. visit, the pope also said the "impressive growth" of the U.S. church has been "not without its challenges," comparing those challenges to the "linguistic and cultural tensions" found in the early church. ...
[Benedict] said the bicentennial should be "more than an occasion of gratitude for graces received."
"It is also a summons to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom, in order to build a future of hope for coming generations," he said.