Celebrating 25 years as a priest is cause for a big occasion for clergy around the world. But this particular group from Madrid wasn't expecting their celebration to include Pope Francis.
FR. CARLOS AGUILAR
"One of the first things we thought of was asking to take part in Mass at Santa Marta. People right away told us that it would be impossible, impossible! It was complicated, but in the end, we were able to do it. ”
What seemed impossible, in the end became possible and they have proof. For three days, they joined Pope Francis during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. They even had the chance to greet him and give him gifts.
FR. JULIO RODRIGO PERAL
"I gave him a trinket from the Carmelite sisters, objects for the altar, a purifier, and a corporal they made themselves. He told me: 'Tell the sisters that to pray a lot for me.'”
Carlos, Julio and Pablo are three of the 12 priests that traveled to Rome to celebrate the silver anniversary of their ordination. For the past 25 years, on the 13th of each month, they also try to meet.
"In many ways, this anniversary has been just like the others, but the difference is that since it's an important number, we have to engage in deeper reflection. The only thing I feel is gratefulness. Plus this trip is like the cherry on top, because God is greater and He doesn't give you things until you deserve them.”
The 12 priests gave the Pope their gifts and also a letter thanking him for letting the group take part in Mass at Santa Marta. The letter summarizes their experience.
"We are so happy, there are no words to describe it.”
They returned to Spain thankful and joyful, having had the chance to celebrate a special anniversary with none other than Pope Francis.