Five women carried out the entire walk from Paris to Rome and one was able to speak to the Pope at the end of Wednesday's general audience.
At the end of a two-month pilgrimage from Paris to Rome, the mothers of priests of the association “La Voie Romaine” (“The Roman Way”) placed their request in the hands of Pope Francis, at the general audience of May 4, 2022. Satisfied with their meeting, they hope that the Pontiff will lift the restrictions on the Latin Mass imposed by the motu proprio Traditionis custodes on July 16, 2021.
The women left Paris on March 6 to travel the roughly 1,000 miles separating them from the Eternal City, to speak with the head of the Catholic Church in person. And to their happy surprise, the Holy Father seemed to be aware of their arrival.
The first sign was seen as an encouragement: during his papamobile ride to St. Peter’s Square, the pope stopped by the group holding banners in front of the security railings to bless two children. Then the Bishop of Rome expressly mentioned the association The Roman Way during his greetings to the French-speaking world after his catechesis.
Finally, the long awaited moment arrived. During the individual interviews at the end of the audience, one of the mothers was able to approach the Pontiff—who remained seated because of his ailing knee—to speak to him on behalf of all of them, and present him with a letter presenting their request for the preconciliar rite.
The Roman Way also handed over to a papal aide “a big bag” containing nearly 3,000 letters from Catholic faithful who are attached to the Tridentine Rite. With this initiative, the association hopes that the exception granted by the pope to the Fraternity of St. Peter last February 11 will be extended to all.
“The Pope is not indifferent”
“We’re very happy to have given him the letter (of the mothers of priests, ed.) in person,” Pauline Debay, a young volunteer very involved in the association, told I.MEDIA. “Upon hearing the presentation of The Roman Way, the Pope replied ‘I know, I know.’” Although he was very smiling when dealing with the group’s representative, the pontiff “said nothing more,” Pauline reports.
While they are slightly disappointed that only one mother was received by the pope, all members of the association say they are “very, very happy” and “touched.” Five women carried out the entire walk, supported by a solid logistical team and joined by 80 other walkers for portions of the route.
As soon as the audience was over, each one of them took the road back to France. “We are full of hope, because we felt that the Pope is not indifferent,” concludes Debay. “We don’t know what will happen, but we hope that there will be consequences and we will continue to pray for the Unity of the Church,” she said.