NASGA’s Federal and Illinois Legislative Liaison, Janet Bedin, Attends Special Mass With the Pope and Speaks to Him About Elder Abuse

Rockford resident Janet Bedin has met previous popes several times but never had a visit to the Vatican like the one she had Monday.

Bedin, a lifelong member of St. Anthony of Padua Church of Rockford, attended a small, private Mass with Pope Francis on Monday morning in Casa Santa Marta and had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the new pope for several minutes afterward.

“I couldn’t sleep at all the night before,” Bedin said by telephone from Italy on Monday afternoon. “I just kept thinking of what I was going to say. … That was the first thing I ended up telling him. I said, ‘I didn’t sleep at all. I felt like I was 9 years old and it was Christmas Eve and I was waiting for Santa Claus.’”

Francis gave a homily that was simple, but serious, Bedin said.

“He spoke about how Jesus Christ tells us the way to my father is through me. I am the door. … He said, ‘He didn’t say go through the window. He didn’t say go through the back. … It’s very simple.’”
Bedin sent a letter to the Vatican on April 15 asking if she could attend one of the Pope’s Masses the next week. It was a long shot, she said, but she had heard about the small morning Masses the Pope had been having for visiting priests and Vatican employees and wondered if she could get an invitation. The 15-year anniversary of her father’s death was Monday, she said, and she could think of no greater honor than to attend in his memory and that of her mother, who died in 2011.

Bedin heard nothing. Then, on Saturday, she received a call with instructions to be at the Vatican at 6:15 a.m. Monday.

She brought numerous photos of friends and family members for Pope Francis to bless and a letter to the pontiff from the Rev. James M. Ciaramitaro of St. Anthony, inviting the pope to visit the Italian-American parish founded in Rockford in 1909.

She also brought along newspaper clippings about her mother’s death and spoke with the pope about fighting abuse and medical mistreatment of the elderly in the United States.

Francis blessed the photos, Bedin said, and as her eyes filled with tears when she spoke of her father — Americo Bedin, a U.S. soldier during World War II — Francis put both hands on her head.

“He was praying, and then he said, ‘God bless you and keep you strong,’” she said.

There were about 35 other people at the Mass, Bedin said. The intimacy was overwhelming.

“It was magical,” she said. “He is so soft-spoken and unassuming. … He is winning over the hearts of everyone over here.”

Rockford Woman Attends Small Mass With Pope, Speaks With Him


5 Responses to “NASGA’s Federal and Illinois Legislative Liaison, Janet Bedin, Attends Special Mass With the Pope and Speaks to Him About Elder Abuse”

  1. Thelma Says:

    Wonderful to hear, Janet!

  2. Jason Says:

    Good going, Janet. I can imagine how honored and humbled you feel.

  3. Luis Says:

    You're a very lucky person, Janet!

  4. B Inberg Says:

    I hope Our Holy Father Pope Francis can persuade our USA leaders to STOP what they are doing and listen to what Janet has to say. Janet went to the top, the highest level of decency with the hospital incident located in Chicago Illinois. Shame shame shame.I wonder what the Pope is thinking about the USA? About CHICAGO ILLINOIS?Are you listening elected ones?

  5. StandUp Says:

    Thank you, Janet Bedin, for taking the opportunity to speak to Pope Frances about the elderly.

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