We began with the opening mass. The bishops participating in the synod were called to gather at Saint Peter's Basilica to vest. A small shuttle bus took us from our residence through security, making it much easier to get there.
Once inside, we got changed... and then waited. It gave me a chance to wander around the inside of the church, without having to dodge hundreds of visitors. Peace and quite in Saint Peter's is a rare and blessed thing!
While going through I saw the great stained glass of the Holy Spirit behind the shrine of the chair of Saint Peter, and it gave me a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to bless us in a special way.
Soon after, the bishops processed out to take our seats for the mass. It was not held in the basilica, but outside. The way was beautiful, and Saint Peter's square was full.
Not long after, the entrance procession with the altar servers, deacons, cardinals and Pope began. I did not take any pictures of the mass itself, of course, but you can check out the homily of the Pope on the web site of the Synod. I found myself sitting next to two bishops from mainland China -- the first two bishops from mainland China to come to Rome since the 1940's!
After the mass, the Pope came by to greet the Cardinals. Here he is, just having greeted Cardinal Lacroix of Quebec City, and greeting Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.
The time after the mass was simple enough. We just headed home, got some lunch, and rested up. After all, the actual work of the Synod was to begin that afternoon!