Pope Day!

Using my connections in the Catholic community, I managed to snag some tickets to the Mass in Nationals Stadium with the Pope. After some 5am bagels, a sleepy drive to the Metro station, and a 45-minute metro ride, we arrived in DC. One could feel the Catholic presence there. Priests were abundant; rosaries and Catholic-themed tshirts were commonplace. Even more inspiring than these outward signs of catholicity were the remarkable number of smiles that were directed our way. Everyone was just so nice! Granted, as my friend CBM said in an interview , people were on their best behavior because of the Pope’s visit. But wasn’t that what the Pope was here for in the first place- to inspire people to live lives more closely resembling Christ’s?

The Mass itself was quite a sight to see. It was a huge undertaking, with hundreds of bishops and priests, and thousands upon thousands of lay faithful participating. Nationals Stadium was packed. I felt bad for the people outside begging for tickets. Mass was celebrated in several different languages, the primary being English, but Pope Benedict spoke a special message in Spanish at the end of his homily. The theme of the whole Mass, and the homily was renewal, hope, and unity. I can’t imagine a more perfect time for such a message. It seems that we hear so often about how bad society has gotten; the Pope acknowledged the “signs of alienation, anger and polarization on the part of many of our contemporaries; increased violence; a weakening of the moral sense; a coarsening of social relations; and a growing forgetfulness of God”, in addition to the lack of faith of those baptized Catholics, but he spoke in terms of the great renewal life in Christ aided by the Holy Spirit that has the power to transform the world. What a great message for those of us stifled by daily burdens. Have hope!

I have only two minor criticisms of the Mass. First, we could barely hear the Pope, between the poor acoustics in the stadium and the rather thick accent he has. Second, after his homily about unity, he spoke in Spanish specifically to the Spanish-speaking laypeople. I am fluent in Spanish, but even so, it caused me to feel like the Pope was done speaking to me and now started talking to another group. Other gringos I spoke to felt similar. Perhaps it would have been better for him to have translated the homily as he went along, rather than having a parenthetical homily in Spanish afterward.

These minor asides, however, did not keep me and my friends from being very inspired by the incredible show of faith of all the Catholics that attended. Praise God for the Pope!

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. But wasn’t that what the Pope was here for in the first place- to inspire people to live lives more closely resembling Christ’s?

  2. “But wasn’t that what the Pope was here for in the first place- to inspire people to live lives more closely resembling Christ’s?”
    I find it entertaining that media has painted the trip as the Pope wanting to beat America into orthodoxy or make a political statement. The obvious answer here is probably the right one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: