Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Pope and His People

The other morning, 42,000 Catholics from the Archdiocese of Washington and beyond gathered in the new Nationals Stadium for something spectacular. Pope Benedict XVI had finally arrived in the nation's capital to celebrate Mass for all of these people. It was the most wonderful sight I have ever seen. So many people, all in the same place and all believing the same thing, singing and saying these responses, was just amazing to me. I knew there were going to be a lot of people, but I couldn't even believe my eyes when I saw the thousands.

Things got even more unbelievable yet wonderful when the Pope finally came around the bend, right into my view and the view of the entire mega-congregation. My seat had a wonderful view of the Pope-mobile and the Pope, who was smiling and waving. The look in his eyes gave me a warm feeling that I will always remember and I know many, many other people recognized at the same time.

The Mass kept this warmth alive inside of me. It was one of the most beautiful Masses I have ever witnessed. As Archbishop Wuerl welcomed the Pope, the people couldn't contain their joy to have such a holy man in their presence. The cheering continued each time the Pope would acknowledge the crowd's presence, and the smile on his face told the whole world of his happiness and the happiness he brought to the 42,000 present. When the Pope gave his homily, his voice was so soothing I think it calmed every single person in the stadium.

As the Mass continued, I realized that this was an experience I would never forget, and at that final moment before Pope Benedict XVI disappeared from view to leave the cheering crowds of Washington, DC, the most unbelievably good feeling of happiness and love joined me and I know it will remain with me forever.



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