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The Story Behind the “Turnpike Mass” of Snowmageddon, From the Priest Who Led It

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/25/16

A great get, over at ChurchPOP: 

ChurchPOP tracked down the priest who presided over this historic Mass, Fr. Patrick Behm, and interviewed him about his experience. “It was incredible,” Fr. Behm told ChurchPOP, “easily one of the highlights of my time as a priest.” Fr. Behm is the parochial vicar of All Saints’ Parish in Le Mars, IA as well as parochial vicar of St. Patrick’s Parish in Akron, IA, and the chaplain of Gehlen Catholic High School in Le Mars. He was chaperoning five students from the high school. According to Fr. Behm, his group plus several other big groups from other schools got stuck near the mile marker 133 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. They there for approximately 22 hours! The cause of the jam, Fr. Behm was told, was an accident involving two tractor-trailers that blocked all of the westbound lanes of traffic. In the time it took to clear this accident, the snow in turn rendered the road impassible and the vehicles immobile. He couldn’t claim credit for the idea of having Mass: “I was the principal celebrant of the liturgy,” he said, “but credit for the idea, and credit for building the altar, and credit for going around to the various buses inviting people to join them belongs completely to the pilgrims from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, particularly Mr. Bill Dill, their youth minister.” It was those students from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who built the snow altar: “Those Minnesotans apparently know how to build stuff out of snow!” The now famous Mass was a powerful spiritual experience for Fr. Behm and everyone else involved. “It left me with many impressions, but among them was the fact that Jesus enters into the storm. Jesus comes to us, in the storms of our life, and enters in to be with us. He desires to be with His people, and if we respond to this invitation to let Him in, then the message is profound hope and joy.

Read the whole story and interview.

But wait: there’s more.

Kathryn Jean Lopez recounts her experience heading home by bus from the March for Life, concluding: “Against the backdrop of the pure white, we have been given the witness of a new generation.” Amen.

Read it all.

Photo: Facebook

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