They came to see the Pope

By  Catholic News Service
  • April 18, 2008
Had time to kill this afternoon since only a tiny number of journalists were able to accompany Pope Benedict on his visits to Park East Synagogue and St. Joseph's Church. So I wandered around St. Patrick's Cathedral, the very heart of Catholic New York. Half a block away, I was accosted by two young men wearing tight T-shirts, jeans and sneakers.

Fortunately, they did not want to mug me, or sell me anything illegal. Instead they wanted to ask me about the Pope.

"We're doing a bit of a survey and we wanted to know what you thought of the Pope coming to New York," the shorter one asked.

Wait a minute! That's my job! I was taken aback for a minute, but only for a minute. I and my colleague from Salt+Light TV, Kris Dymtrenko, were happy to tell them why we were happy about seeing the Pope in New York, not to mention Washington.

But I was more curious about these young guys. It turns out they were on a retreat to consider the priesthood. A few minutes later, they were joined by a Brother from the Legionaries of Christ who was happy to explain the situation. The two young men were among about 200 who would be at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers on Saturday to see the Pope. They were quite excited about the prospect.

There were more than a few people hanging around St. Patrick's who were excited about the papal visit. While the cathedral was busy with the usual throng of tourists, more than a few were in town to see the Pope. For instance, take the trio of women from Mexico we bumped into just across the street. They had come all this way, without any tickets for any papal events. But they were determined to line up tomorrow in hopes of catching a momentary glimpse of the Pope.

"He's like an angel," one of them, Patricia, told S+L TV anchor David Naglieri , who was another member of our tiny band of intrepid reporters.

"He gives you a lot of faith in your soul."

Couldn't say it better myself.

PS: You can catch interviews with these fabulous lay Catholics on Salt+Light's programming.


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