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CNN Sunday Morning

Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Mass at St. Patrick's in New York;

Aired April 19, 2008 - 09:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN, ANCHOR: Take a look at this picture. I don't know if you can hear the screens but the Pope is arriving and people are cheering. It is a historic day as he's arriving at this very moment to celebrate mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. We have live coverage of this historic day. Good morning, everyone from this grand cathedral as we watch the Pope come from the vehicle there, it is a special edition of CNN SATURDAY MORNING. I'm Betty Nguyen.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN, ANCHOR: Hello to you as well, everyone. I'm T.J. Holmes at CNN's New York bureau as Betty is right outside where this is happening. But Betty, you take us through this as we are seeing the doors swing open. Yes, in fact, Pope Benedict has arrived for his mass this morning.

NGUYEN: Listen to the crowds. Can you hear the cheers as they watch Pope Benedict XVI arrive here at St. Patrick's Cathedral. What a day this is. His first time in America. This is the third anniversary of being elected Pope. This is historic on many levels as we see the Pope right now entering into the cathedral, which is packed with some 3,000 members of the clergy today. And the weather couldn't be any better. In fact, I have with me Vatican analyst John Allen to walk us through what we're going to be expecting today.

John, what a wonderful moment right now, not only for the clergy to come out to see the Pope, but for the people on the streets in New York who have been lined up for hours just to catch this, a glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI.

JOHN ALLEN, VATICAN ANALYST: That's right. As you well know, these people have been here since well before the crack of down actually awaiting this moment, to see the Holy Father, the man they regard as the vicar of Christ on earth, representing the presence of God here in the heart of a modern city. And so, it really is a magnificent moment.

As you can see, Pope Benedict is a very shy man, in some ways. Really sort of falling into this public role. You see him making himself available, smiling, and waving.

NGUYEN: Listen to that, John. All the man has to do is turn around and wave and the crowd goes wild.

ALLEN: Yes, absolutely right. And part of that is the man himself. His obvious holiness and the reputation that he has. Part of the course is the office he holds. Catholics regard him as sort of the supreme expression of the presence of god among them. And so there's a kind of electricity whenever the Pope walks out on to that public stage that is just palpable. I mean, you can feel it through this crowd.

NGUYEN: Oh, there's such an energy here. Not only is it historic, but people are truly excited about this visit. And as he is walking now into St. Patrick's Cathedral, this is an important occasion, because this is the first time a Pope has actually celebrated mass inside St. Patrick's Cathedral. Correct?

ALLEN: That's right. St. Patrick's is sort of the queen of American cathedrals representing the Catholic Church in the United States. And this is actually the first time a Pope has ever walked through that door. So, it is a deeply historic moment in the church.

NGUYEN: And it is a very important moment, because today, as yesterday he spoke to the world at the U.N., today he is speaking to the rank and file, the infantry, as you called it.

ALLEN: Right. The Pope's infantry. These are the priests, the sisters, the deacons, the brothers. They're the ones who make the church live at the grass roots. You know, they're the ones who celebrate mass on Sunday, who teach the kids in school, who bring consolation to the sick in hospitals and so on. The Pope shockproofs, if you like, and therefore, for these people, whose life has been given over to the service of the church. To have the Pope come to them to give them support, to give them encouragement is incredibly meaningful.

NGUYEN: And what a beautiful picture as we see the Pope walking into St. Patrick's Cathedral. Look at all of the people who have come out. As you mentioned, these are the people who really do the churches work out there in the communities making a difference. The cameras - I mean, a lot of people would say Pope John Paul II was a rock star, but judging from all the flashes of lights from these cameras that people brought in, Pope Benedict is doing quite a good job.

ALLEN: One big part of his appeal is precisely that he doesn't try to be a celebrity. He doesn't do the things that people who are hungry for fame would do. And that's the sincerity of the man, the kind of transparent holiness, in some ways, the selflessness of the man. I think this explains why so many people warm up to him. And you get the sense that this isn't just sort of blow-dried photo op seeking personality. You know, this is the real deal. And I think that explains why people are so excited to be in the presence of someone who does seem to be such an authentic figure.

NGUYEN: This is why he was elected in the first place. This being the third anniversary of him being elected to the papacy. This is a man who is a scholar, someone that I imagine, you know, that the church and the faithful would hope, somehow, would really bring the church to back to its roots.

ALLEN: Yes, that's right. I think another thing about Benedict's excitement that you see on his face that is striking is this is a man who was doing a job he never wanted. You know, he had rationally tried to retire three times and John Paul II, who's boss at the time and you know, sort of kept him on the job. You know, his dream was to go back to live with his brother in their house there, read, write, study --

NGUYEN: You said books are his best friend?

ALLEN: Yes, that's right. I mean, he's most at home in his study, surrounded by books which he reads in dozens of original languages and so one. And yet, he accepted obviously what he believes to be god's will for him to be doing this job at this time. And so, I think what we have seen over these last three years, Betty, is a man growing into the role, a private figure, becoming a public man, and he is here in the United States embracing this new aspect of his mission.

NGUYEN: Absolutely, you did catch a glimpse of Pope Benedict kind of coming out of his shell a little bit. And like you said, really embracing this important role. We heard the crowds just going wild moments ago as he walked into the cathedral. And now inside, I mean, if people have come out by the thousands to be a part of this historic day.

ALLEN: I think what we forget sometimes, you know, our model is the Pope is bringing something to the people. We forget the people also gives something to the Pope.

NGUYEN: And right he is giving a little prayer. As we watch this mass being celebrated today, what are some of the highlights of it? Obviously, the homily.

ALLEN: Sure, I mean this is a normal Catholic mass, which means we'll have readings from scripture, the Pope will then give a talk, which Catholics refer to as the homily, which is in the first place a reflection on the scripture readings but obviously, this is the Pope's one chance to speak to the people who make the church live at the grassroots. And so, he will have thought carefully about this. This Pope, by the way, writes all of his own material. There is not a team of speech writers. You know, this is his own thought coming from his own heart, his own reflection. I think we will hear in the first place the strong message of encouragement to the people doing this work. I think he's probably going to want to talk about the need for unity in the life of the church.

Of course, the American Catholic Church is enormous. We are talking about almost 70 million people. And there's always that tendency to become divided. I think the Pope will try to encourage people to concentrate on what unites them. And I would expect, Betty, once again, we will also hear the Pope make specific reference to the suffering of the church in light of the recent sexual abuse crisis, encouragement to bring healing to those who have been scared.

NGUYEN: And that is something that he has really spoke on many times during this trip to the U.S..

ALLEN: That's right. Even before he got here on the papal plane on the way to the United States in response to a question that I asked him. He talked about the need to bring healing to this crisis. And he has done so repeatedly, assuming that he does do that this morning, that's going to be the fifth time, actually, that he has engaged the crisis since he arrived. So, clearly, not a man trying to bury his head in the sand and pretend that everything is sweetness and light.

NGUYEN: He also went to a synagogue yesterday. That was an important step as well.

ALLEN: That's right. The park East Synagogue here on the east side of Manhattan. And this is the third time a Pope has been to a synagogue. The second time for Benedict XVI. The first was when he was in Germany on his first foreign trip. And clearly, in light of the sometimes troubled history between Christians and Jews over the centuries, whenever you have a Pope and a rabbi standing shoulder to shoulder sending symbols of brotherhood, that's a very important moment.

NGUYEN: Without a doubt. And his message obviously is unity, one that he is showing by example and reaching out to the many different facets of this country. As we watch the Pope celebrate this mass, you don't want to go anywhere because we have the very latest with live pictures, taking you both inside and in depth with analysis. You are watching CNN SATURDAY MORNING.


NGUYEN: Welcome back to St. Patrick's Cathedral here in New York City. You're looking at live pictures inside as the faithful has crowded in to see the Pope celebrate mass today. It is a historic visit as this is the Pope's first trip to America on today being his third anniversary since being elected Pope. And right now we understand that Pope Benedict XVI is towards the back of the church putting on his vest. Walk us through what that is.

ALLEN: Well, he is in a room called the sacristy, which is, if you like, the prep room for priests before the mass. The vestments, of course, will be the garments, the clothing that he will wear during the mass. And it's actually quite a fairly elaborate process because there's a number of pieces of clothing, the celebrant, the one who will be leading the mass put on a stoll, for example. The stoll, is the band of (inaudible) around the celebrants neck and it actually represents the (inaudible) of service and then there will be the outer garment which has as appropriate the church color for the day. All of this very carefully thought out. And once the process is complete, then we will see the introductory procession as the Pope and the other celebrants move down the aisle and begin the ceremony.

NGUYEN: And this is something many have come out to really hear words of inspiration today from this Pope. Do you think he's going to deliver that?

ALLEN: OH, absolutely. Again, I think the thing to remember is that Benedict XVI thinks very, very carefully about his public messages. And I think, you know, he's trying to walk a sort of delicate line here, on the one hand acknowledging that this is a church that has had its difficulties and suffered. On the other hand, you know, not wanting to make that exclusive focus. I mean, obviously, at the end of the day, he wants to deliver an optimistic message full of hope, full of new life.

NGUYEN: Because these are the members of the church who will go out and carry out the will in these communities.

ALLEN: That's exactly right. I mean, these are the ones who will take the kind of lofty ideals that the Pope is talking about and then translate them into practice, carry them back to parishes, into schools, and to hospitals and the other works of the church and put them into day-to-day practice. And I think Benedict wants them to leave with hope and with new energy.

NGUYEN: And this is a pope who has really put a lot of his focus, not just on unity, but bringing people together regardless of your background, your income, and especially when it comes to people around the world who are in need. He's hoping, in a sense, especially when he spoke to the U.N. yesterday, to bring the world together for a better cause.

ALLEN: Yes, you are right. I think Benedict XVI. Particularly in his address to the United Nations yesterday but in other opinion, he was trying to make the argument, you know, we often tend to focus on the things that divide us. The issues, the kind of wedge issues that are out there in life of the global community and the life of nations. He is trying to return us to the sort of core human values. And so the basic notion of our inherent dignity that we can all agree upon, and that's can serve as a baseline for bringing people together.

NGUYEN: As we wait for this mass to get underway, people are sitting very quietly and anxiously awaiting word from the Pope. What are we expecting to hear, not only in the homily, but throughout the service. Lots of singing, lots of different parts of the mass that will be celebrated by the all 3,000 inside.

ALLEN: Sure. Maybe for our non-Catholic viewers it's worth seeing but the Catholic mass is basically speaking, divided into two parts. There's a first part called the liturgy of the word. So, we will hear readings from the Bible, which will culminate with the gospel reading, the four accounts of the life of Christ, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And then we will hear the Pope deliver his homily which is intended as a reflection upon those readings.

Then, we will transition into what's known as the liturgy of the Eucharist where the Pope performs the prayers, the climactic moment of which is that moment in the mass when Catholics believe that the bread and wine is transformed into the literal visible presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. And then the Catholics, those who are taking part in the mass, will receive communion. Then the Pope will say some concluding prayers. Then the idea being that this cumulative service of the mass, listening to the words of the Bible, receiving the presence of Christ physically, that will energize you to go out and make that real life of the world.

NGUYEN: This is just one of the many events on his agenda today. because from here the Pope will be heading out to St. Joseph's Seminary. ALLEN: That's right. Popularly known, here in New York, as Dunwoodie, because that's the area where the seminary is located. And this is going be a pretty high octane event. This will be his major youth rally. So, for people who are familiar with those World Youth Days that John Paul used to do, this kind of Catholic Woodstock, that's what you're going to be seeing.

NGUYEN: When it comes to Cardinal Eagan could this possibly be one of the last celebrations that he has as cardinal?

ALLEN: It would be one of the last, Cardinal Eagan, of course, has already reached the age of 75, in which bishops are required to submit their resignation to the Pope. It is up to the Pope when to accept that resignation. So Cardinal Eagan will continue for some time, but at some point in the not to distant future, we will be seeing a transition here in New York.

NGUYEN: And speaking of transitions, obviously the Pope is hoping that he will inspire young people to go into the priesthood. Because we've seen a shortage as the past few years.

ALLEN: Yes, that's right. Although what we're saying actually that the priest shortage, bad as it is in some ways to the United States. It's actually much worst on other parts of the world. The ration of Catholic to priest in the United States is 1 to 1,300. In Latin America, it's one to 8,000. In Southeast Asia. It's one to 9,000. This is very much a global problem. And I think Pope Benedict certainly wants to make one of the hallmarks of his message here to young people particularly, I think we'll hear this afternoon. An invitation to be generous, to respond generously to God's call to service.

NGUYEN: Obviously, the sex abuse scandal did not help things. But you said something very interesting to me a little bit earlier. In those times of crisis, you do see a lot of young people stepping up to the plate and really wanting to put their lives and dedicate it to god.

ALLEN: I think that's right. Whenever there is a crisis or a difficulty in the life of the church. I think it might alienate some, cause some to step back. But there are others who feel that method of the church. You think it is precisely in those moments of crisis when they're needed and I've interviewed a number of new seminarians over the last three years who have said that in some ways, the church's recent difficulty sort of motivated them to make that commitment.

NGUYEN: It looks like this mass is about to get underway.

ALLEN: That's right. This is the introductory procession. So, you see those who are going to be taking part in the Mass, making their way up to the central aisle of the cathedral to get into position. And in a short order, we will hear the Pope recite the opening prayers of the mass and we will be under way.

NGUYEN: For those helping participate in this mass, this must be really a wonderful moment in their lives. ALLEN: Oh, this is absolutely magical. And this is the moment that these priests and deacons and others who are taking part, they will remember and cherish what is happening here today for the rest of their lives as well those who were here.

NGUYEN: And when we talked about participating in mass when it comes to these members, what exactly will they be doing under that title, participating in the mass?

ALLEN: Well, the priest who are con-celebrating. That is celebrating with the Pope will be joining him in reciting the prayers in the mass. They will be taking part in the consecration of the bread and wine. The Catholics believe it becomes the body and blood of Christ. So, they are in the sense spiritually joined with the Pope this morning, in making this mass up.

NGUYEN: As we watch them file in, we hear the music playing. It's, as you mentioned, a very majestic day, not only on the level of excitement but just how real this is for so many Catholics and how important a day like today.

ALLEN: You know one of the things the Catholic Church has always understood over the centuries, is there are important symbols in the importance of pageantry in a sense. And so this is a an experience. The mass is always an experience with a deeply spiritual meaning for people, when you add the extra ingredient, of course, and the presence of the Pope, and really a significant chunk of the American Catholic hierarchy here. Because at first you have, most of the American (inaudible), a large number of bishops joining the celebration. This is incredibly special and precious.

NGUYEN: And an incredibly special place, St. Patrick's Cathedral.

ALLEN: St. Patrick's Cathedral I think this is American Catholicism in a way. I think if you had to pick one visual symbol, like iconic symbol of the American Catholic Church, its roots, its history, you know, we think St. Patrick's Cathedral.

So, to have the Pope who is the leader of the universal catholic church standing in this space which represents the American contribution of today and the universal Catholic experience, and the symbolism of this has been powerful.

NGUYEN: You have covered the Vatican for many, many years. Are you surprised that this is the first time a Pope has come to celebrate mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral?

ALLEN: Well, not really, of course. Because when the Pope celebrates mass obviously, he generates these huge crowds, which means almost inevitably, you need a stadium or arena or field. I think what's happening here today, of course, is not a mass for the general public. This is a mass for priests and religious, which in some ways logistically makes it easier to have it inside the Cathedral. It also gives the (Pope a chance) Benedict XVI whenever he can, he likes to celebrate inside a church. Again, because he believes that stores the natural focus on god rather than his own personality. This is a Pope who has never liked the idea of making the priest the star of the show. The priest is supposed to be a servant leading people to god.

NGUYEN: And while this is for the clergy, the people that work in communities and make a difference in the lives of Catholics around the United States, this mass is being pretty much piped, audio-wise to the streets of New York City. So, that many Catholics who have come and just people who are interested in hearing the word and seeing the Pope, who lined along the streets in downtown Manhattan. We can hear it behind us. This is really a pretty special event. I don't think I've ever seen an incidence where (inaudible) at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and have you?

ALLEN: No. I mean, even when the cardinal is (inaudible) here. You don't have the mass being hyped in the streets outside. You don't have the kind of electricity in the air that the Pope's presence generates. So, in essence, really for the Catholic Church, in a way, this is a precious teaching moment. It is a way to invite the rest of the world in to learn a bit something about the internal life of the church, what the mass means to people as well.

NGUYEN: As we watch the Pope walking through St. Patrick's Cathedral, walk us through exactly what is about to happen.

ALLEN: Well, as we are going through the introductory procession, once the Pope reaches the front, he will begin reciting the opening prayer of the mass. And that's when in a certain sense, the mass formerly begins. And then in fairly short order, we will have a transition into the scripture reading, the readings from the bible.

And that all of that, in a sense, will build to that much anticipated homily or talk. The reflection on the scripture that the Pope will be giving. And I think that is so important for these priests and deacons and so forth. Because they can in a sense, they are waiting for the Pope to share with them his insight into the message she should be bringing to everyone else.

NGUYEN: Not only the message that they should provide, but the answers, perhaps, that you provide as members of the community come to them with concerns and questions, whether it be about family lives or the situation with the sex abuse scandal within the church.

ALLEN: That's right. Although I think it's important to say, for the most part, people don't come to church because on their positions on issues. They come to church because they are looking to be fed spiritually, to be placed in the presence of god. Which, in a way, means it's not just the words that are important but it's also the tone. It's the pitch of the thing, in a way, and sot they're also looking for guidance. If you like, I'm looking for style points from the Pope. You know...

NGUYEN: Really? They are taking notes.

ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. We are watching how he celebrates. There's a kind of reverence about how he approaches the experience. And I think, you have to remember for these people who are gathering in St. Patrick's this morning, this is in a way, a rolling seminar for how to celebrate a mass. NGUYEN: And as we are listening to the beautiful music and watching this really majestic moment play out here in St. Patrick's Cathedral in the heart of downtown Manhattan, this is a historic day for not only America, but for Pope Benedict XVI. We will have much more live coverage right after a short break.


NGUYEN: You are looking live now in St. Patrick's Cathedral here in the heart of Manhattan. Pope Benedicts XVI celebrating mass. I have with me Vatican analyst John Allen. And John, as we're watching this, walk us through what is going on, especially for the viewer who are non-catholic.

ALLEN: Sure. Well this is called the introductory right. In other words, the opening part of the mass. You can see the Pope is now taking his position behind the main altar, in what he's getting prepared to do, there's an opening prayer. It is actually called a collect. And the idea is to sort of pull back the people together and put them in the presence of god. So, he will say the prayer, and then we would go into the scripture readings. This will be the heart, what's known as the liturgy of the word. The word of god, Christians believe is in the light.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: Peace be with you.

CROWD: And also with you.

CARDINAL EDWARD EGAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: Most Holy Father, welcome to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Most Holy Father, the corner stone of this historic edifice was laid on August 15th, 1858, by his excellency the most reverend John Joseph Hughes, the first archbishop of New York. Since then St. Patrick's Cathedral has been the spiritual center of Catholic life and worship for the people of god of the Archdiocese of New York and the beloved house of prayer, for not only Catholics across the nation but also for visitors of all faiths, races, and cultures, from every corner of the globe.

It was built with the pennies of the poor and serves as the cathedral church of what must be one of the most diverse communities of faith in all the world. Mass is offered in parishes of the archdiocese in 35 languages every Sunday and holy day. And all of this is reflected here in St. Patrick's where Eucharistic celebrations are scheduled each year in the native languages of immigrants, pilgrims, and visitors from Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. It is most fitting, therefore, that we are gathered here in the first of the three settings of hope that you, most Holy Father, identify and brilliantly proclaim in your most recent reciprocal letter saved by hope. The setting, namely, of prayer.

We are bishops, priests, deacons, and men and women in concentrated life of greater New York and all 195 dioceses and archdiocese of this beloved nation called by the Divine Savior to announce and live the gospel, to guide the faithful in justice and charity, and to lead them in prayer. We count ourselves truly blessed to be here with you, our supreme shepherd, to pray and mass with you, and to hear from you.

What we must strive to be and do if we are to fulfill the vocation of hope, which we most willingly committed ourselves at our ordination and religious profession. Most Holy Father, you know our weaknesses and our strengths. You know our joys and our sorrows. You know our victories and our defeats as successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ, confirm us in our faith and in our service to the lord and his holy people, at the same time, please know that we clergy and religious together pledge you our loyalty and our love. Never a day will pass.


Never a day will pass that we will fail to speak to the Savior and his mother, Mary, of your needs you're your hopes for the church in the world. This is our promise and on the occasion of your gracious visit to our native land, we make it with a fervor that is especially dreep and a gratitude that is especially heartfelt. We are gratefully honored that you begin your fourth year of bishop of Rome and shepherd of the Church Universal, here with us.

Please know that as your loyal sons and daughters in Jesus Christ, we prayfully wish you every grace, blessing, and happiness throughout the years that lie ahead. Heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of your third anniversary as Vicar of Christ and supreme pastor of the church.


(speaking foreign language)

NGUYEN: We are watching the mass being celebrated inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, here in the heart of Manhattan. I have with me, CNN Vatican analyst, John Allen, to explain for those watching, exactly what is taking place.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, what we -- what we just saw, actually, was not a standard component of the Catholic mass. This was the Cardinal Edward Egan of New York, the archbishop of New York, welcoming the Holy Father to the diocese and welcoming him to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

You heard the Cardinal Egan pledge the loyalty of Catholics of the United States and New York to the pope, now we are transitioning into the normal sequence of the mass, the pope has done the opening prayer and then we will soon be hearing the readings from the Bible, that form the core of the first part of the mass.

HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI: Here in New York, in this beautiful cathedral, of the Archdiocese of New York, may our coming together in prayer renew us in the hope and love of our lord, Jesus Christ, to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins.

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do. May I ask present Mary, as a virgin, and the angels and saints and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to serve our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.



NGUYEN: As we're listening to this, John Allen, this is part of the penitential process.

ALLEN: That's right. This is a piece of music that is called the "Kyrie Alaias" (ph). It's a way to prepare the soul for mass.


NGUYEN: Listening to beautiful music reminds me, John, of how accomplished Pope Benedict XVI is as a musician.

ALLEN: That's right, he is a great lover of music and he is also a musician, himself. He actually -- one of the ways he relaxes is that he likes to spend 10 to 15 minutes at the keyboard tinkling on the ivory, every day. His brother, Georg, who is a Catholic priest, a monsignor, is actually, for many, many years, the directors of one of the most famous choirs in Bavaria, the Regensburg Choir. And Pope Benedict is a great lover of the arts, generally. He actually once said that at the end of the day the only argument Christianity has to make for itself is the saints and the artists it has produced. So, these sorts of moments during the liturgy (INAUDIBLE) the beauty of the music, deeply moving.

NGUYEN: Has Pope Benedict XVI always been such a scholarly person, even from the days when he was just a kid?

ALLEN: I'll tell you, Betty, when he was -- for a very brief period of time, drafted into the German army. One of the ways he would spend whatever downtime he had -- know that you're talking about a 16, 17- year-old man -- he took a notebook, a spiral notebook with him and a pen and he spent his time writing Greek examiners to relax.

NGUYEN: To relax.

ALLEN: To relax. Yeah, so this is a man of deep culture, deep learning. And as I say, a great lover of the arts. And so for him, this sort of experience, where you hear the beautiful choirs and lofty music, very, very important.

NGUYEN: We are going to take a listen.



God our father, may your church always be your holy people, united as you are one with the son and the Holy Spirit. May it be for all the world a sign of your unity and holiness, as it grows to perfection in your love. We ask this through our lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


NGUYEN: Next is the Liturgy of the Word?

ALLEN: That's right. The Liturgy of the Word is composed of readings of the Bible, there will be a reading, then what's known as a Responsorial Psalms. The Psalms, of course, are some of the wisdom literature from the Old Testament. And then the climax of that will be a reading from the gospel, which is the accounts of the life of Jesus, followed by the pope's reflections. Worth noting, Betty, that the pope, since becoming pope, actually found time to write a book, which came out last year, which was actually a book on the Bible, specifically on the Gospels. It's titles just "Jesus of Nazareth." So, this is a very important component of the mass to this pope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language)

NGUYEN: As were listening to the Liturgy of the Word in Spanish, it's really worth noting, John, how many people, within the Hispanic community, have really flocked to the church and have taken root within the community and in their lives.

ALLEN: That's right. The fact that this reading from the Acts of Apostles is being delivered in Spanish is in part, clearly and acknowledgment of the growing Hispanic presence in the Catholic church in the United States.

The U.S. bishops currently estimate of those almost 70 million Catholics out there, about 39 percent of them today are Hispanic. And estimates are that by mid-century they will probably be a majority. There is a sense in which the Catholic church in America is evolving towards being a bilingual and bicultural church. And we are getting a taste of that in this morning's mass.

NGUYEN: One of the fastest growing populations when it comes inside -- comes to the Catholics inside the church. And is that something that we're seeing just in the U.S. or around the world, as well?

ALLEN: Well, we're seeinging it around the world. I mean, of the 1.1 billion Catholics in the world, almost half of them live in Latin America. I mean, numerically, demographically, in ways, it's the hear of the Catholic church. They are growing in the United States, of course, in large measure, because of immigration patterns. And Betty, I think that also helps to explain why immigration has become such an important issue for the leaders of the church and the United States. It's not just a social justice concern, but in many ways it's where the Catholic people in America are. I mean, so these are pastors, you know, trying to speak in defense of their people.

NGUYEN: And where does the pope stand on immigration? Obviously, it's been a very controversial issue throughout the U.S. on many different levels. But when it comes to the church, when it comes to integration, where does the pope stand? ALLEN: Well, that is another question that e actually addressed aboard Shepherd One, the papal plane, on the way to the United States and made a very strong call for generosity with immigrants. He particularly expressed his concern about the way that immigration policies sometimes divide families. And he said that this is a source of great suffering and something that we need to be very attentive to.

NGUYEN: And this is a pope who is not afraid to take on some of those political issues.

ALLEN: No, not at all.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters, no one can say, Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit; there are different forms of service, but the same Lord; there are different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.

To each individual the manifestation of the spirit is given for some benefit. As the body is one, though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also is Christ. For in one spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one spirit, the word of the Lord.

CONGREGATION: Thanks be to God.

NGUYEN: Well, we're about to listen to the Gospel Acclamation. John Allen, I think it's important to note that the theme of this trip is "Christ our Hope." Talk to us about that.

ALLEN: That's the theme that Benedict XVI, himself, chose as sort of the official motto, if you like, of his trip to the United States. Ultimately, of course, he sees himself as a messenger for Christ, the teaching of Christ, the person of Christ and we're reaching that moment in the mass where we'll hear a reading from the Gospel, which is the four stories of the life of Christ in the New Testament.

Gospel comes from the old English word "good spell" or "good story, it's the good news of Jesus Christ. In, of course, the pope's talk, the homily this morning will be, at least in part, a reflection on that reading of the Gospel. So, we're really reaching that moment in the mass that in some ways sort of both symbolizes and brings together the core of the message that Benedict XVI, over these six days in the United States, is trying to present.

NGUYEN: And the pope picks out these stories to really fall in line, or vise versa, with the homily? ALLEN: The pope doesn't pick the readings for the mass, the church has a calendar, a schedule and over the course of a four-year cycle, every four years, during mass on Sundays, Catholics will hear the entire Gospel read to them. So the readings for this mass are already set well in advance, but the pope, of course, writes his own homily, his own reflection, that is very much his own message, his own thought, is own prayer.

NGUYEN: It's really a beautiful celebration of mass. A lot of pageantry, it seems to go into this.

ALLEN: Yes, of course, the mass is a way of worship that has developed over the centuries. I mean, and experts on this sort of thing can almost approach it like an archeological dig, they can tell you that the introductory rights, for example, when the priests process in comes from ancient Rome, because that's how a judge would enter a hearing (INAUDIBLE) and so on. And so, it's a system of worship, a way of worship that has grown-up through time and sort of bares the weight of history upon it. And Benedict XVI is a great lover of liturgy. For him, this is the heart of his spiritual experience.

NGUYEN: The homily being his message. Again, that being one of inclusion, that's going to be a big thing in that homily. What else is he going to be touching on?

ALLEN: Well, again, bearing in mind his life, speaking to priests and religious -- in the first place, I think he is going to want to talk about -- kind of give them a message of hope, a message of energy, prayer for new life in the church. Probably, he'll also be talking about the need for unity in the church. I mean, the American Catholic church, because it's so big and so diverse, there is always this danger of centrifugal energy in allowing our disagreements to dominate us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything from the Gospel, according to John.

CONGREGATION: Glory to the Lord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus said to his disciples, "When the odd buckets (ph) comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father. He will testify to me and you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have much more to tell you that cannot bear it now, but when he comes, the spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak his own, but will speak what he hears and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father is is mine. For this reason I told you that we'll take it from what is mine and declared to you