I was fortunate to receive two of the “golden tickets” to see the Holy Father Pope Francis as he processed in his Popemobile through Central Park on his way to celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden.
It was an adventure getting to our spot, but well worth the wait for the opportunity to see the Vicar of Christ on Earth. We had to wait in line for close to two hours to go through security. Once inside Central Park, we set up camp next to a group of sweet Filipino ladies. We were a mere five feet from the roadway that the Holy Father would be driving down.
During our wait, we got to know the ladies we were standing with. We had the opportunity to prayer the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary. We also sang hymn, including “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”, “Hail Holy Queen”, “How Great Is Our God”, etc. The fellowship helped to make the five hours of waiting go by a lot faster.
Once word that Pope Francis left his meeting with Catholic school children in Harlem and was heading to Central Park in his Fiat, the crowd started to really come alive. The excitement was palpable.
The last time I saw a Pope was just about 20 years ago when Pope Saint John Paul II celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Giants Stadium. I was 13 years old. The emotions of that experience are still with me all these years later.
I knew seeing Pope Francis would certainly produce many of the same emotions. Once Pope Francis reached Central Park, he ascended the back of his Popemobile, and commenced the Papal Procession through the park. As he was getting closer and closer to our location, the crowds up the road from us were becoming electrified. And the excitement was getting infectious.
Once I got that first glimpse of the Holy Father, my whole demeanor changed. The waiting meant nothing because I was in the presence of the Vicar of Christ. The goosebumps I got did not leave me until well after Pope Francis was out of sight.
Telling a friend about the experience he brought up a great point when he told me that when you see the Pope your heart opens up and the Holy Spirit has a direct link and access into your soul. It changes you for the better. It opens your eyes and your heart to the unceasing love of God through the ultimate sacrifice of his only begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. If you ask me, that makes a lot of sense.
So if you ever have the opportunity to see the Pope, you mustn’t pass it up. And if your heart is open, it will be a life altering experience for the good of your soul. God bless. Pray for me.
Tagged: Apostolic Visit, Catholic, Central Park, His Holiness, Holy Father, New York City, NYC, Papal Procession, Pastoral Visit, Pope, Pope Francis, Popemobile, Roman Catholic, Saint Peter, See of Peter, Vicar, Vicar of Christ, World Meeting of Families