May 13, 2015
Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
Today this hearty group of pilgrims – who got in last night at 9:30 after spending 8 hours in the airport in Amsterdam – left the hotel on a bus at 7am to get our places for the Wednesday Papal Audience. We were early enough to get seats along a railing right where the Pope Francis would be passing by. Sure enough, he came through the crowds in his pope mobile and, after making a circuitous passage through the crowds, stopping to kiss a few babies and shake a few hands, he finally came right by the place where we were (see pictures). It was very exciting for our group, but then, for the thousands in attendance. In anticipation, before his arrival, total strangers struck up conversations speaking various languages. Next to us were a group of high school youth and everyone was trying the languages they learned in school. Various speakers announced different groups that were there, including Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church from Lake Oswego, Oregon. They actually said: “Lake Oswego, Oregon” in St. Peter’s Square! To be honest, I didn’t hear our parish name being called since I was a little distracted by Pope Francis who happened to drive past our section at that precise moment. Later, after he had reached his chair to address the crowd and when he had a mic, he spoke for a few moments on the importance of family.
After the audience, we went on a walking tour of Rome, including the Pantheon and eventually I celebrated Mass at Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Fortunately, Kevin Smith, one of our pilgrims, is along to lead music. He can sing and play most anything with a keyboard. After Mass we stopped for Gelato and headed back to the hotel for supper.