|by Steve Charles • June 27, 2013|
After their wedding on May 25th at St. Benedict's Parish in Chesapeake, Virginia, Homer Twigg ’08 and his bride, Jocelyn Dabu Twigg, flew to Vatican City on June 5 for a Papal Audience.
Here's how Homer describes it: 'After a frenzied conversation by fax between St. Benedict's Parish and the Holy See, we picked up some tickets for the audience. We showed up to a crowd of 50,000 in St. Peter's Square, thinking we're never going to get to the front of this mess for the Papal Blessing of the sposi novelli, but you wouldn't believe the places you can get when your beautiful bride is donned to the T. We walked right through three thresholds of security by the Swiss Guards, slowing realizing that we were the VIPest of VIPs.'
'We settled down behind the Holy Father, he gave his audience message, and when it was over we were lined up on the steps of the Basilica to get our blessings. There were about 25 couples there that day, but we were the very last in line, which means that it was just him and us on the steps (and a lot of photographers), and we got a little extra time to chat—about 90 seconds.'
'We prayed two rosaries for him as he made his rounds hobnobbing with the other hoi poloi (he had begun his pontificate asking people to pray for him), and when he came up to us we told him that we had prayed two rosaries. He said, 'Magari! Un Terzo!' (Perhaps a third?)'
'Then we asked for his blessing and got it, kissed the old fisherman's ring, and I fumbled around with my scant über-formal Italian. We invited him to come spend some time with me and the Monks of Norcia, some other things I forget now, and that was that.
'Due to the waterfall of pilgrims onto the streets after the ceremony, there were no taxis to be found. So we walked back to our apartment, provided by Inside the Vatican Magazine (I'm doing some consulting work for them at the moment), to the shouts of Alguri! Algurone! Figli Maschi!! all the way home.'
'As anxious as Jocelyn was that we had gotten so decked out for nothing, that we wouldn't get through the crowd to the Pope, she was equally exuberant by being treated like superstars as we walked the streets around the Vatican and Cipro neighborhoods.'
“I have a story for you.”
That was the heading in an email I received from Homer Twigg ’08 a couple weeks ago. It was accompanied by some attachments and two additional notes:
“Well, some neat pictures anyway. Marriage. Is. Awesome.”
Curiosity piqued, I opened the first attachment to see Homer, one of my favorite student writers when he was at Wabash, and his lovely bride, Jocelyn Dabu, being greeted by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. In the next, the Pope is practically embracing them.
Now Homer has always been adventurous, with the habit of turning up in unexpected places. While a student, Homer and two others (sponsored and coached by Wabash bookstore manager, lover of Sugar Creek and pirates finger puppets Mike Bachner ’70) navigated the length of the Wabash River and chronicled the trip.
After graduation, Homer journeyed to Italy to work in the Monastery of San Benedetto bookstore (a position previously held by Bryan Gonzalez ’05).
But married, at Vatican City, and being blessed by Pope Francis?
I had to laugh for joy as I opened each picture: Jocelyn is lovely, Homer is happier than I’ve ever seen him. And the story behind it all is just as good.
Homer has promised to write about it for an upcoming issue of Wabash Magazine, but for now, here are some of his notes to go along with, as he said, “Some neat photos.”
Thanks, Homer and Jocelyn. And, we’ll echo what the people said in the streets of Rome that day you were blessed, “Auguri e figli maschi,” which I believe translates as, “Best wishes, and may you have many sons!”