Catholic Throwback Thursday: 2008 Yankee Stadium Mass with Pope Benedict XVI


It’s Catholic Throwback Thursday!! 

This Tuesday I made a proposal that we flood social media today by posting old photos with a Catholic connection notated with the hashtag #Catholictbt to our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. 

Today I am starting my own weekly Catholic Throwback Thursday with a special tribute to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  


Historic one-year mark on February 28:

Tomorrow marks one year since Pope Benedict XVI’s official resignation. After announcing this historic decision on February 11, 2013, the Holy Father Emeritus was flown 17 days later by helicopter on February 28 to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo. His pontificate ended that evening when the clock struck 8 p.m. Rome time (2 p.m. here in the U.S.).

The symbolic ending of this stunning chapter in Church history was witnessed via news media all over the world when the Swiss Guards left their posts as the bells tolled the 8 p.m. hour. Pope Benedict remained there at Castel Gandolfo until May 2 when he moved into the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery at the Vatican.


Here at The John Carroll School:

We marked the Holy Father Emeritus’ resignation last year by having a Day of Eucharistic Adoration at the John Carroll Chapel.  Our students wrote prayer intentions for the Holy Father and the Church. One of our international students Mateus from Italy is seen here with his prayer intention for the Holy Father. (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)


Catholic Throwback Thursday goes back to 2008:

Today I am turning back time with Catholic Throwback Thursday and honoring the Holy Father Emeritus. Here are some photos that I took during Pope Benedict XVI’s first and only trip to the United States as pontiff for six days in April of 2008. 

 (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

I led the four motorcoach buses with the Harford County delegation on April 20 to the Mass at Yankee Stadium. We met at John Carroll’s parking lot bright and early for check in and instructions. It was 6 a.m. and Mass didn’t start until later that afternoon. Over 200,000 people had requested free tickets for this event that accommodated just under 60,000 total. Any of us who got tickets felt extremely blessed to be part of this historic occasion.

This was the third time in the 85-year history of Yankee Stadium that a Papal Mass was held there.  In 1965, Pope Paul VI celebrated Mass there, followed by the 1979 Mass with Pope John Paul II. 


 (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

Priests enter the stadium sanctuary area at the start of the liturgical procession.

This April 20, 2008 Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Easter was a huge celebration of the 200th anniversary of the 1808-founding of the Dioceses of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Louisville. The Archdiocese of Baltimore was established in 1789 as the first U.S. diocese, and was elevated to the status of our first U.S. archdiocese when these four other dioceses were created in 1808. Representing all 195 U.S. dioceses and archdioceses at this Mass were members of religious orders and the clergy.


 (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

Overview of the entire altar area and stadium sanctuary:

Note the closed white tent in the background which is from where the Popemobile would enter the stadium area shortly after everyone was in their places. The inside black track around the perimeter of the stadium where the Popemobile would ride is visible on the left side of the photo. Can you imagine the level of excitement?


 (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

The crowd went wild with joy as the Holy Father made his way around the stadium track. Cardinals and bishops had their cameras ready to take photos, along with the almost 60,000 people gathered in Yankee Stadium. The Holy Father was accompanied by Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the Archbishop of New York.  It was a joy-filled occasion from start to finish… 


 (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

The incensing of the Book of Gospels during the Liturgy of the Word.

Our American cardinals with visiting Church officials are at left.


(Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

The Prayer of the Faithful was done in many languages. You have a closer glimpse here of the American cardinals and some of the archbishops, including our Cardinal William Keeler.

Some of the hierarchy in attendance included: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal John P. Foley, then-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Others included Cardinals William H. Keeler (Baltimore), Theodore E. McCarrick (D.C.), Daniel N. DiNardo (Galveston-Houston), Anthony J. Bevilacqua (Philadelphia); and Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio to the United Nations, Archbishop James M. Harvey, prefect of the papal household, and Baltimore’s Archbishop Edward O’Brien.


 (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

The Apostolic Blessing at the conclusion of Mass


 (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

Cardinal William Keeler, the retired 14th Archbishop of Baltimore, recesses from the stadium.


 (Photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)

Some familiar Vatican faces are seen in this recessional photo.

The massive crowds, including the Knights of Columbus seen here on left, loved Pope Benedict XVI’s interaction as he made his way from the stadium area to the Popemobile where he finished the loop around the inner track of the stadium returning to the white tented area. No one was permitted to leave the stadium until after the Holy Father departed the area. He flew back to Rome this evening from Kennedy Airport.


The memories of this wonderful day with Pope Benedict XVI will live on forever for my family and all those in attendance.

Viva il Papa!!

Pope Benedict’s homily from Yankee Stadium can be read here.

Read more about this historic trip to the United States here



 My fellow Catholic Review blogger Rita Buettner of “Open Window” and I are blogging each day this week (Monday, February 24 to Sunday, March 2) in conjunction with the “7 Posts in 7 Days” challenge from Jen’s Conversion Diary.

 Today Rita shares about a great story about writing lunch box notes for her sons.  

Tomorrow I am counting down to St. Patrick’s Day with a great Irish prayer to start your day.


Catholic Review

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