Greetings from the Eternal City!
Today Bishop Paprocki and I arrived in Rome after several setbacks and delays.
As we waited yesterday in the terminal at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, we were happy to see that Their Excellencies the Most Reverend Joseph L. Imesch, Bishop Emeritus of Joliet, and the Most Reverend Dale J. Melczak, Bishop of Gary were also on our flight.
Everything seemed in order until it was announced our flight was delayed thirty minutes because of a mechanical difficulty. After the thirty minutes were up, it was announced that the plane on which we were to fly was unserviceable. We were placed on a later flight in a different terminal to make our connecting flight to Rome. However, that second flight was also delayed and we missed the first connecting flight upon landing, and the next flight, as well, because we didn't make it to the check point in time.
This did afford us a visit with a very kind man who has worked at Heathrow for some sixty years and will only retire when his wife tells him he can. Many years ago he played cricket at the Vatican against a team of priests and monsignors.
As we made our way through the airport we kept asking him which way we needed to go next. He simply repeated, "Just stick with me and you'll get there." He took us through several lines that on our own we could not have used. May the Lord bless us for his kindness!
We did finally manage to board a flight to Rome but as the plane began to taxi down the runway to take off it returned to the gate for another thirty minute delay due to a technical issue. The issue was resolved and finally we arrived in Rome, somehow only five hours later than originally planned.
Since we missed the initial overview meeting for the ad limina, we were briefed during dinner.
Tomorrow the Bishops of Illinois and Indiana will meet with the Holy Father and yours truly will be introduced to Pope Benedict XVI.