Vicky Cessna Reports : Papa Goes to Washington

Vicky Cessna Reports : Papa Goes to Washington September 24, 2015

Even while my vantage point for this day is from inside a large ballroom in the lower basement of the Marriott, the energy and excitement is electric.

Here are some fun “behind the scenes facts” I’ve heard:

Apparently on Tuesday the pope’s plane did a nice loop around Georgia reportedly because Prez and Veep were running late.

One Italian reporter approached our desk during the welcome ceremony at the White House and asked “What do I call the guys in red coats? what are they? ” For those wondering the same thing they are the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.

Pope Francis didn’t veer off script when speaking in English. Here’s what he had to say at the White House.

After his remarks the beautiful St. Augustine Cathedral Gospel Choir sang – catch them at the NOON Mass on Sundays says one of my local DC-dwelling colleague.

There were 1,000 invited guests on the White House lawn by the way.

So if you’re the leader of 1 billion Catholics where do you stay? with the Apostolic Nuncio. What’s a nuncio, you ask? Why here’s a good backgrounder.

During the first Popemobile siting probably the most amazing thing was to watch secret security hand babies to Pope Francis – the most viral story is the little girl whose early efforts to run to the pope seemed initially thwarted by secret service but that call was trumped by Pope Francis when he waved her over. Here’s the letter she wrote – asking the Pope not to let her father get deported.

Some newscasters speculated the children were “hand-selected ahead of time” but I can’t imagine that’s true.

The bishops sat patiently waiting at St. Matthew Cathedral, the mother church for the Archdiocese of Washington, and many may remember as the church where President Kennedy’s funeral Mass was held.

The Midday Prayer with Bishops wasn’t just named because it was held at “mid-day” but is a beautiful part of the Liturgy of the Hours. [Check out more here: MidDay prayer? ]

My boss, Bishop Paul J. Bradley, was able to be one of the bishops greeting the pope and was sending me photos while inside.
Bishop Paul J. Bradley Pope Francis

Check out his reflections at his blog
Afterwards he was gracious to juglle a few media calls in-between being herded on a bus to get ready for the Canonization Mass.

I wasn’t able to catch the Mass but instead was boarding a train from DC to get to NYC to help the team there. Traveled through Maryland, Delaware, Philly, NJ and arrived in Penn Station to this wonderful image:

During my travel to the Big Apple the Church was getting a new saint. Continue to check-in on USCCB’s great website for all the information and backgrounders as well as our own diocesan site.

Word on the street is that I may have a bird’s eye view inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral today for Vespers—I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s a link to the post on Vicky’s blog.

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