Mar 23, 2009

How many of us would say this?

A beautiful story lede in the NY TImes today:

LUANDA, Angola — Manuel Domingos Bento, a 62-year-old farmer with a paralyzed right leg, had journeyed 50 miles to the outskirts of Angola’s capital and slept here under the stars beneath a thin blanket. A faithful Catholic, he did not want to be late for Mass on Sunday. Pope Benedict XVI was going to lead the service on the last full day of his first trip to Africa.

Even with the help of a crutch, Mr. Bento was too unsteady to venture into the mammoth crowd that had gathered along the expansive dirt of a vacant lot near a cement factory. When the pope finally arrived, the farmer was 200 yards away, able to see only the top part of the “popemobile,” a sparkle of glass under the harsh glint of a powerful sun.

Still, his eyes welled up with emotion. “This is the greatest moment of my life,” he said, awed by the pope’s presence, no matter how distant.

I remember thinking that the Pope's visit was not that big a deal when I went to my first World Youth Day in Toronto. Then he passed in front of me and I just had to call my wife and my mother to tell them how moved I was by his presence. I felt the same way with a different Pope in Sydney. The Pope has time for us. That will always be John Paul II's gift to the world, the papacy, young people and Catholics all over the globe. Benedict is doing a fine job keeping up with JPII's pace and at a much older age.

To read more on the Pope's trip click here

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