Posted, and then realized this is my 1600th post!
Seriously...I vaguely remembered the name because as a kid such things were memorable. Read the whole thing:
A visit by Pope Francis to the Great Synagogue of Rome
on Sunday, his first and the third overall by popes, was rich in both
symbolism and substance. It offered clear reminders of the dramatic
progress in Catholic/Jewish relations over the past 50 years, but also
of the tensions that remain.
While expressing deep admiration for Francis and his lifetime
commitment to friendship with Jews, leaders of Rome’s Jewish community
also laid down an unmistakable challenge to the pontiff to be more
outspoken in defense of Israel and against radical Islamic terrorism —
not just in Europe, but also in the Jewish homeland.
In terms of the big picture about where things stand today between
Jews and Christians, however, a small moment at the beginning seemed to
tell the tale best.
When Francis got out of the car that carried him the roughly two
miles from the Vatican to the Great Synagogue, his first order of
business was to greet a handful of living survivors of the Holocaust and
also relatives of a two-year-old boy who was killed during a 1982
assault on the synagogue by Palestinian terrorists.
Those episodes are no laughing matter, and Francis appeared somber
and restrained as he began shaking hands. That lasted until he saw an
elderly man named Nereo Musante, wearing a fedora and sporting a long
beard, who was gazing at the pontiff with an infectious smile.
Francis lit up and made a beeline for Musante, wrapping his
outstretched hand in both of his own and engaging in a brief chat.
Nearby microphones picked up most of the exchange.
“Listen, Holy Father, how about putting the [feast of] the
circumcision back on the calendar?” Musante said, causing others
standing nearby to laugh that he would use the occasion to give the pope
“It would be a beautiful thing to do, wouldn’t it?” he persisted.
From the 13th and 14th centuries, the Feast of the Circumcision of the
Lord was celebrated on Jan. 1 and was considered a holy day of
obligation, when Catholics are required to attend Mass. After the Second
Vatican Council, however, Jan. 1 was designated as a feast of Mary,
Mother of God, returning to an ancient practice, and the Feast of the
Circumcision was more or less forgotten