A year ago today, Val, Ashley, and I attended mass with Pope Francis in Rome. It was a chilly morning, but standing in line for over an hour didn’t bother me in the least. Our seats were about in the middle of St. Peter’s Basilica and as we prayed a rosary before mass, I was able to pray it in Latin, along with the rest of the congregation. During my time in the choir, we would sing the Hail Mary in latin so the words were familiar to me. The repetition of the prayer helped, too.
When Pope Francis walked by, I imagined myself getting quite emotional but I didn’t. I felt the warmth and joy of seeing my friend walk by me. That’s how I feel about Pope Francis. His humble, yet joyful demeanor makes me feel very close to him. As he walked passed me, I took pictures and just smiled and enjoyed the moment. Mass was beautiful, just as I expected it to be. I took more pictures of Pope Francis as he processed down the aisle.
Outside in the square, we weren’t planning on staying to hear the Pope’s address to the audience, but we did. We wiggled our way as close as we could and found ourselves right in front of the jumbo tron, and pretty close to his window. One of Ashley’s friends translated what Pope Francis was saying and then I heard him say, “Northfield, Minnesota”! We were so surprised to hear those words and we cheered! We figured out that there was a group from there and Pope Francis was acknowledging them.
What was so exciting to us was that Val’s grandma and other relatives are from Northfield, AND today was his grandma’s birthday AND that Papa called out “Northfield, MN” AND we were there to hear it! Although, Grandma Stanton is in heaven, I knew she was smiling down on us!
Happy Birthday, Grandma Stanton!