To participate in this amazing historical event, and to see the humble priest chosen by the Holy Spirit to guide the Catholic Church, OLOL youth group went downtown as a group! On Wednesday, September 23rd, we participated in an event organized by the Archdiocese of Washington. Eight high school teens woke up well before dawn and met me at the church at 4:45am. We said a prayer in front of Our Lady of Lourdes and set off for the metro
After Mass, we walked southeast to the Ellipse, and made our way around the street blockades to the proper entrance. Volunteers from the Archdiocese dressed in yellow polos welcomed us with smiles and stickers. We crossed the lawn below the Washington Monument to the street, where we sat behind the barriers to await the Pope.
We were able to watch the Pope's visit with President Obama on a jumbotron that had been set up on the Mall. After three hours of sitting, then standing in a crowd, all the while waiting and wondering when Pope Francis would come by in his Popemobile, we saw some flashing lights from the direction of the White House. We craned our necks and finally saw the motorcade coming down the street. Peering between the raised arms of everyone taking pictures with their phones, most of us at least caught a glimpse, if not a good steady look, at the joyfully beaming Pope Francis. We waved to him and he waved back as his white Jeep rolled down the street flanked by security personnel. He looked so happy to be among the people, to be greeting us after we had waited so long to see him!
As the first event I organized at OLOL as the new youth minister, I feel so blessed to have been able to experience such a beautiful day and a unique opportunity with 8 teens who couldn't have been more optimistic, easygoing companions. God was smiling on Pope Francis's visit and on our early-morning effort, and we enjoyed every moment of this day!