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Papa Ben

I just finished watching Pope Benedict leave Rome as Pope for the very last time.  Am I the only one who cried?  I swear my kids think I am a bit too emotional about the whole thing . . . . I could not even see pictures of him yesterday without crying.

I have thought a lot about the time I met him, 5 years ago, in the last few weeks.  He was coming to the Archdiocese of Washington.  My husband worked for the archdiocese at the time and so I knew that we would be able to get tickets to the mass without much trouble.  But there was ONE problem . . . I would be 4 days away from my due date with A!  Now, I have not gone into labor naturally with ANY of my boys, but I figured that, with my luck, I would be at the mass and go into labor.  So, I knew the mass was out.  And I was very disappointed.

Luckily, there were a few people at the Archdiocese that understood our plight, and were able to get me a special ticket to the Shrine (my husband was invited because we worked for the archdiocese), when the Pope would be coming to address the US Bishops.  The Pope would walk through the upper church of the Shrine and greet people up there before heading down to address the Bishops in the Crypt church. 

I remember coming into the Shrine to find the section we were to sit in.  We were on the far left of the altar. I was disappointed . . . we could barely see the altar from where we were sitting.  I looked at my hubby and said, "These seats do not seem very good."  He then pointed to the doors about 10 feet away from us and said, "You see those doors?  The Pope will be entering through those doors."  I could not believe we were so close.

We sat for quite a while before his arrival.  The streets outside were PACKED with people.  Suddenly, I started to hear a lot of clapping and cheering outside.  The big screens in the Shrine showed the view from outside.  The Pope had left the USCCB building and was in the Popemobile to come to the Shrine.  The sound of the people outside was just incredible.  My excitement grew as I could see the image of the car coming closer to the doors of the Shrine.  Suddenly, he was outside those doors we were so close to . . . and they opened, and there he was! Pope Benedict!

The experience seems surreal now.  At one point,he was just about 5 feet away from me.  He donned a big smile.  And peace and joy just exuded from him.  Before that moment, I wondered if I would cry.  And as he stood before me and I could feel his holiness, the tears started to fall.  Maybe it was the fact that I was 9 months pregnant, but I doubt it!

Pope Benedict walked through the church, and then headed to the Crypt church with the Bishops.  We got to watch the proceedings on the screens.  It was so neat to witness, because he joked with the Bishops and they all laughed together. We prayed evening prayer with the Pope and the Bishops.

It really was an incredible experience. 

A VERY pregnant me next to the cut-out Pope!!


And, now, today, we say goodbye to Our Shepherd here on earth.  I thank God for him and the opportunity to meet  him. 

Good Bye Papa Ben!! We will miss you!!

Comments

  1. Perfect! Were those your pictures? That close? That is awesome. See, I have seen him a few times, but always from far away, or when he was moving through crowds in a popemobile. Never just walking by. lol. what a blessing!!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, those are our pictures! He was VERY close to us. I was about two pews (5 feet) away from him when he walked through the crowd. Pete took the pictures because he is A LOT taller than I am. We were really hoping I could get on the end or something . . . since I was so pregnant we thought he may stop and bless little A in utero! That would have been so cool!

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