Last Saturday I attended the Easter Vigil Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica. I’ve already shared about the experience in relation to the last several weeks.
I’d like to add a little more, this time focusing on the experience of waiting in line. Given that this Mass is such a “hot ticket” every year I went down to the square six hours before Mass. I was fortunate enough to attend with two other NAC seminarians who were also journalists before entering seminary.
When you must wait in line that long it’s always good to make friends with those around you.
Behind us was a very nice man who a professor from Providence College and is here teaching in Rome for the semester, he was joined by two of his children. They sat with us for the Mass as well. We parted ways and my parting thought was simply that it had been a pleasure to meet such a nice family.
The next day when I arrived in the square, it was packed. So I made my way into the closest open section and then looked for American college students studying abroad as I thought I’d be able to help them understand everything that was going on.
After Mass people started shuffling around to get close to the Pope as he drove by in the Popemobile. As this was winding down I ended up chatting with a family from Philadelphia. Then I saw on the screen the Holy Father embracing a special needs child. The family then noted that this child was on the other side of our section.
As for the many thousands who were then there, and the millions who have now seen on tv, I was exceptionally moved by Pope Francis’ embrace of this child.
Today I came across this beautiful blog post by the father of that child, as I was reading the post something clicked, I knew this man. I had met him just the night before. I had gone to the Easter Vigil with him and two of his other children.
Sometimes it really is a small world. You meet people, and seemingly life goes on, you just never know what grace the Holy Spirit will pour forth next.