An afternoon full of Faith, Love & Hope with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI

I haven’t even reached home yet. I’m on the last leg of my trip home — sitting on the bus that will take me to my part of Queens. The heat in the bus sure feels good. I actually feel like my body is overheating after being subjected to cold winds even if I sat on one of the covered portions of the stadium.

All I can say is that I feel truly blessed. I texted our friend, Sgt. M, who so graciously extended his help in securing tickets for my friend amd I, and I told him “I can’t thank you enough for the big favor you did me today. You were in my thoughts and prayers…”. I am sure that he was surprised to hear of my request from Alan and his girlfriend who are friends from way back. I had met him briefly and know of him and we have sort of existed in the same social circle vicariously through our significant others. While I am aware it was by no means easy to pull it off, the significance of the courtesy he extended to me is way too profound for me to accurately express in words.

I feel so blessed to have had a firsthand encounter with the reigning shepherd of my Church — whose warmth and strong embrace I felt as he waved to his people who were so hungry for his love and care. The stadium was literally swept in a wave of emotion as the Pope Mobile emerged from the far side of the stadium. The people cheered and he waved and stretched his arm out in acknowledgement, drinking in the faithful’s affection and devotion.

At the same time, I felt like one with the crowd in cheering His Holiness on and who, as one, let him feel how he was so deeply loved. It was reminiscent of Pope John Paul II’s visits to Manila — but perhaps because of his proximity to where I was seated and the wonder of technology which enabled me to take countless crisp and clear pictures of him upclose, I literally felt like he was at arm’s length and truly within reach. His eyes glimmered with a glow full of love and hope that made me feel the happiness in his heart that shined from within.

As my friend Jackie put it, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience — even if we should be blessed with Pope Benedict’s presence again or that of the succeeding Pope, today will be a day forever etched in our hearts and minds.

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