Where did I leave off?
The stadium was relatively new. The stadium, at least the first tier, was very open-aired. Under the shade of the second tier, as well as the surrounding concrete that was still cold from the night before. It was not soon that I realized that my ticket was one of a few that did not give a (Section 138, Row S, Seat 2) view of the altar, obstructed by a speaker tower. I suppose God wanted it that way, and for a legitimate reason. Of course, no one would want to trade their lifetime experience with me, especially when I am supposed to be around for an excess of 50 years. 9:30am, the Pope took a home-run ride in the popemobile, a modified Mercedes-Benz. He nearly missed us by waving to the mass of priests on the field, but he gave us a good wave before it was too late. 10:00am, the mass started. I identified the Pope only by his unique accent, which I heard much on TV the day before.
Like my trip to England (It did not feel much different than Canada), it was unbelievable. Although I could not see Him, it was something very special, and the shock will probably come sometime. He spoke Spanish well, as I was informed by someone who saw the Pontiff's mouth move to the words. Communion was served in our section, not focused at a central point, a thing that I slightly disagree with, regarding to the symbolism of it. Denyce Graves and Placido Domingo sung and brought people to tears. The mass sometimes turned into a rallying cry, with phrases including, Viva la Popa, We love you Benedict!, and, otherwise much cheering and clapping and flag-waving. The service ended precisely at Noon, and a commentator soon commented. I thought; "Why?". Exiting the stadium-turned-church, it was as if the whole
world turned upside down. Anti-Catholics protested the church's doctrine, and Evangelists tried to convert with poorly written novels. By the grace of God, no one was hurt.
It was HOT outside, and had been for a while. Staffers rushed water to the priestly people in the field. I did not know why until we got out. I stripped off my jacket, and my sweater, loosened my tie, and still be hot. Note- I'm not whining below.
Typical incompetent DDOT cops held our lunchtime up, while an amazing stream of over 20 buses passed to ferry riders to the RFK lot. The only dining in the area, Five Guys and Subway and Starbucks, as comic relief, were crowded. We did eat, but they (at Subway) could have been more prepared, and anyway, mis-dressed sandwiches, even to somebody who was allergic to cheese. Luckily, it was not put through the toaster-oven. Cost $7.03, had enough sense to lax the 3 cents, came with medium soda and foot-long sub. Did they gouge the price?
And people did ride the N22 from the mass.
We did not get back to school until 3:10pm. I would have gone to class for 10 minutes if it was important material, but it was not. After school, I finished my stage for the drug webpage, and had to get home to cram for Friday's Test-n-Quiz session.
I had been planning to write an article for the Press, but I just did not collect enough of my own feelings to write a full story. I then thought of asking the more devout people what the mass meant to them. The next day, I did find out, and it meant a lot. A powerful point was the pope in the bleeing of the Eucharist, as well as after communion, when he did a rare standing ovation to Placido, and he kissed the Pontiff's ring. Unfortunately, I did not get to see it. I suppose they deserved a powerful experience, getting to see the aged Pontiff, at 81, still enthusiastically officiating the whole mass. After all, a lot of them did take their initiative to be confirmed last year or the year before. I was confirmed in a High Episcopal church last year in New York (St. Thomas 5th Avenue is traditional.) There was nothing that could have deterred-like Mr. Schmidt's temporary shake-off of Model UN by introducing occasional after-school meets- the process. Confirmation class was required, and I don't think I ever gave a formalized consent to have my name sent to the Bishop. I should try to be more faithful. After all, all I do is attend church on Sundays more often than not, and lead Sunday School with material I learned the previous week in Religion class. Maybe the sprit just moved me then. Let's see.
And as I say, Happy Birthday to Me.