By this time Pope Francis is already back in Vatican, probably still catching up on sleep (or maybe up already for his usual 6AM mass). His life and our lives are back to normal (if this is what normal is). For most of us, it is. His 5-day visit from January 15 to 19, 2015 has now passed but hopefully his words will continue to ring through our hearts and our everyday lives.
The past days had been “holy”. Everybody’s kind and generous. It felt like we told our mean, selfish selves to take a break. It’s the same feeling I experienced 20 years ago when Pope John Paul II came for the World Youth Day. I was a college freshman then and was a youth delegate. It’s just a pity that all the photos and my official ID were lost due to the fire. All I have from that visit were memories of walking along Taft Ave to wait for him in the Apostolic Nunciature with my friends and co-delegates, of joining the vigil at Luneta Park and seeing him twirl his cane. Ahh…sweet memories.
In 2002, when I went to the Vatican with my sisters, it was another sweet memory. This time walking inside St. Peter’s Basilica, joining the people in the square, looking at the Papal Apartments. We were also privileged to have been given a glimpse of the square from another vantage point when we were invited by Sister Noemi (my uncle’s niece living in Vatican that time) to go up their living quarters.
So now I get the same feeling of being blessed as Pope Francis came for a visit. This time, my sweet memory will be waiting for him pass by Quirino Ave. with my own family. I can’t believe that my darling bub frantically waved his hands and said mmmPapa! mmmPapa! while the Pope was passing by. It was actually a short wait and a short walk (I heard that some had to walk really far and wait long to see him) which is something I’m really thankful for. It was as if it was God’s design that we won’t get rained on nor we won’t get tired because we were with 2 kids.
I’m also thankful for really good people – policemen who waited and answered people’s questions patiently, others who are willing to lend a chair for kids to sit on, strangers who are willing to watch your belongings, gas stations opening up their space to accommodate cars etc. If only we could be like this often, if only this will be our default mode.
I praise those who joined the Pope in Luneta. I wish I was there. But I guess God had made other plans for me/ us that day. He wanted me to spend that time with family as we watch the mass on TV.
Thank you God for choosing a simple man to become Pope. Thank you Pope Francis for choosing to visit the Philippines. Thank you Filipinos for choosing to be good and disciplined.