Saturday, August 25, 2018

A Glimpse of Pope Francis

Well, I saw the Pope today! Only for a brief moment, but I did see him.

Yesterday, my local parish announced on its Facebook page that the Pope would passing through Ballymun Main Street. (Ballymun is not far from Dublin Airport.) Then, this morning, at Mass, the parish priest repeated it again.

I watched him touch down on TV, and then I headed out to Main Street. A crowd had already been forming as I was coming home from Mass, but now there was a bigger one, and a police presence. (Not a very heavy one.) Everybody was very good-humoured. There was some Vatican flags from people attached to the parish.

Somehow, I assumed the Pope himself would not be visible. I don't know why. It's not very logical, when I think about it, since Popes are known for waving to crowds.

Anyway, I expected only to see the cavalcade, but I actually saw Pope Francis himself, a few feet away from me. And by pure chance! I expected the cavalcade to be much bigger, and the papal car to be surrounded by garda motorbikes. It wasn't. The Pope was already past me by the time I looked up (I was looking further down the cavalcade) and saw him waving and smiling to the crowds, and leaning out the window. He does look very joyful.

It was a glorious day for it, too.

I got a real kick out of seeing His Holiness pass through my hometown. That's the best part, for me!


  1. Very exciting! Am really glad for you. And I can quite understand the significance of his passing through your home town. There's a funny sensation when something like that happens — it is as if you hadn't realised that other people knew your town existed!

    Coincidentally, I've only just this evening discovered that when St JP II came to Britain in 1982, he passed by train only about a mile from where I live. Not quite the immediacy you experienced, but there is a power in things being made personal in that way.

    1. There certainly is! It makes me think of Bognor Regis changing its name because the King used to holiday there. Ballymun hasn't got much of a history (it was farmland until the sixties) but one of the things often mentioned is King William passing through it on his way to the Battle of the Boyne. How long ago was that? So it seems like a big deal indeed that the Pope should pass through.

  2. I'm glad.
    An Australian reporter tonight commented that, although the numbers weren't as big as '79, today's Mass is still possibly the largest gathering of any sort in Europe this year.

    1. It couldn't be as big as the last one because of health and safety regulations, anyway.