Yonkers Seminary No Stranger To Momentous Visits
Mary Calvi YONKERS, N.Y. (CBS) ― A Yonkers seminary is busy preparing for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI. The center will hold a large youth rally, led by the pontiff himself. As CBS 2 HD has learned, the center has a lot of experience hosting leaders of the Catholic church.
Pope John Paul II left an indelible mark on the Catholic faith and one on St. Joseph's Seminary when he visited in 1995.
The educational center for the priesthood will once again play host to a papal visit when Benedict arrives on April 19.
"In 1995, security was there, but compared to that it has been bumped up incredible notches," Father Luke Sweeney said.
Father Sweeney is part of the 50-member task force overseeing the visit, a very historic one for the seminary which extends 40 acres in Yonkers.
Father Michael Martine is supervising every inch of the grounds.
"Security is going to be very, very tight. We want to keep the Holy Father and everyone participating in these events as safe as possible.
And he includes the 20,000 expected to attend a youth rally.
This will be Benedict's second visit to St. Joseph's. Back in 1988 then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger visited Yonkers to speak to some seminarians. Little did they know he'd be the next pope.
"He had come here to address the students about a new book he had just written," Martine said. "He celebrated mass in our chapel."
That chapel newly refurbished in the past months in preparation. It was spruced up when the first pope visited 13 years ago.
The pope left the seminary with a remembrance they cherish, a chalice now used during the seminary's special masses. Many hope this pope will leave a gift, a spiritual one, a renewed call to faith.
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