Natalie Weber | November 30, 2016
After ministering communion during the concluding Mass of the Jubilee Year and returning the chalice and remaining hosts to St. Peter’s Basilica, Fr. Joe Corpora realized he was in the same vicinity as the Pope and joined a crowd of priests waiting to meet him.
“I didn’t go back to my seat,” he said. “I quickly wandered into the crowd of all the priests and just sort of found my way, standing there as if I belonged. And then I just kept inching up.”
In April 2015, Pope Francis announced an Extraordinary Year of Holy Mercy — a Jubilee Year — a time to be dedicated to themes of mercy, forgiveness and solidarity. Corpora, a priest in residence in Dillon Hall, served as a Missionary of Mercy, commissioned by the Pope last December at the beginning of the Jubilee Year.
Corpora traveled to Rome to celebrate the conclusion of the Year of Mercy on Nov. 19 and 20. When he met the Pope, Corpora thanked him.
“I said to him: ‘Thank you very much for sending me out as a Missionary of Mercy. I’m very grateful.’ And then he [the Pope] says: ‘Oh,’— and he points his finger — ‘First of all, thank you, but it’s not over yet.’ And then I thanked him for what he did for the Church and for the world. And I said ‘I love you,’ and I just lunged out and hugged him,” Corpora said.