22 March 2011

Pope Sighting #1

Every Sunday at noon, the pope recites a blessing from his window. With the marathon just about finished up, we moved into the square to wait for a glimpse of Pope Benedict. A crowd had begun to gather, the largest we've seen in Vatican City so far and they all seemed to be facing toward the same line of windows. We followed their lead and began to wait.
More and more people arrived with heads tilted upward toward the block of curtained rectangles. One window in the corner had a golden curtain instead of a white one and we assumed that signified "papal." I wanted to get it right because I wasn't sure how long the pope-pop-out would last. When I noticed a large film camera focused up higher than my target, I decided to reposition. I figured, if they don't know where the shot is, who does?
Then, there he was! Pope Benedict XVI himself. What a strange thing it must be for a man who submitted his bishop resignation papers three times and was given a promotion instead to hear his name being chanted by a gaggle of tourists and pilgrims. Poor guy just wants to live in a Bavarian cottage and write books, or so he has said.
The crowd really did go wild for ole Joseph Ratzinger. The blessing lasted a little under an hour and groups of people would squeal when he switched into their language. It reminded me of people WOOing at a concert when their neighborhood is shouted out by the performer. Where all my Latin speakers at?!?
Banners were held up and flags were waved. I caught at least one person sobbing. I can only imagine how crazy it must have been when John Paul II, the rock star pope, gave his addresses. It must have been like Times Square during TRL. Man, the late 90s early 00s were awesome.
Then, Benedict went back inside and the crowd quickly dissipated, streaming out of Vatican City down the street where the last marathoners had passed through just an hour earlier.

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