April 10, 2016

She represented us well!!!!

Tiffany Nemanich gave a memorable and rich reading of Ezekial 36:16-17A, 18-25 at the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica a few weeks ago.  She did an incredible job and the emphasis she put on the last verse was perfect in every way.

You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.  Ez. 36:28

For Tiffany and her dad Scott, it was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Judging from conversations with Scott, just about everything was a highlight, but here are some of their experiences in chronological order:

· When they arrived in Rome, one of the first things they did was take a tour of the Vatican.  Scott had been there before, but wanted Tiffany to have some time to absorb the space and grandeur. She was very impressed, but not intimidated

· On Saturday morning they were scheduled for a rehearsal with the  other lectors and cantors.  Monsignor Cihak, the Papal MC who had arranged for everything was so kind to personally pick them up at their hotel and get them into St. Peter’s via a special side entrance.  Scott said the kindness and friendliness of the Vatican staff was remarkable.

· Tiffany was the only lector speaking in English—in fact, her reading was the only English spoken in the entire liturgy.

· The liturgy was scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Saturday night.  They arrived by 6:30 p.m. as promised and took their seats as everyone gathered for Mass. They had a bird’s eye view of the  preparations for the Papal Mass.

· When the time came for Tiffany to read, Msgr. Cihak escorted both Scott and Tiffany to the Ambo.  At one point, they stopped to bow directly to the Holy Father.  That process was repeated after the reading as well

· During the liturgy, one of the priests serving for Pope Francis came down to Tiffany.  He said that the Holy Father regretted not being able to greet her personally but wanted her to have a rosary he had blessed.  Tiffany was the only one who received this gift.

· After Mass, Scott and Tiffany were swarmed by people who wanted to congratulate her on a job well done.  A priest from Philadelphia said he’d never forget her    reading of that last line.  People took pictures.  Words of congratulations were spoken in many languages.  At nearly midnight, the Nemanich’s were among the last people out of the square.

· Kind messages continue to come in from around the world.  A lady from Florida sent an email to me after somehow finding the first column I wrote online.  A man from New Zealand on the plane recognized Tiffany’s voice.  He’d been at the Mass, but couldn’t see her from his seat.  He said she spoke with such passion.

When Scott asked Tiffany if she’d been nervous, she said no.  She just wanted to show the Pope what she can do. 

She certainly did that—and oh so well!  Congratulations to Tiffany and thanks to Scott for sharing their story with us!

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez
Director of Development
straysdevelopment@ yahoo.com 815-722-6653, ext. 242

P.S.  If you haven’t yet seen Tiffany read, a video can be found on straymond.net.




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