Being an Italian from Rome and all does make me forget how big the figure of the Pope really is outside of my own country. How his persona is worshipped by so many more people that you could ever imagine. I admire Pope Francis and I strongly believe his reasoning for abolishing the death penalty, suggesting to every Christian and family around the world to take in one or more refugees and believing in love as the stronger form of faith no matter the sexual preferences, but I take him for granted. I alway did. Until today.
I am spoiled to know he will give Mass on every Wednesday and every Sunday in Saint Peter’s Cathedral, which is about 20 minutes from my house in Rome. I am fortunate enough to know his face in real life having see him around my city more than once. But, today in East Harlem I saw a woman who was 82 from Porto Rico and she has been a fedele or worshipper since she was a little girl, then I met Gabriela all dressed-up in Pope paraphernalia and a little girl Nadia, from Mexico, who was ready to film when the little Fiat Cinquecento passed-by with Sua Santita` inside it. I saw all this and I felt privileged. I saw the Pope myself, but hearing the crowds screaming of joy at his presence made me have goose bumps on my arms. These people had only once chance to see the spiritual guidance they have been following for years and it was today and I could participate as well. It may feel cheesy or even too fairy tally, but, especially in East Harlem, where luck and money is not evenly distributed about people who truly need it, the Pope’s presence and his follower’s smiles and giggles, gave the neighborhood a whole different feel. A feel of peace and happiness we should all search for more daily.
And I am still smiling back at the excitement in this kids faces while they waved back at the Pope’s arm barley visibile outside of his car saluting them back.