DESTINATION (DAY 10): Today, the pilgrims rose early, had a quick breakfast and jumped on their buses for the short ride to Saint Peter’s Square. It was the day we had been waiting for. The time had come to see Pope Francis up close and personal during his Wednesday Morning Audience.
HIGHLIGHTS: The 130+ pilgrims representing the Diocese of Wilmington were among the 75,000 people from around the world who were waiting to see the Vicar of Christ.
We were in line for security early, so many of us were able to get good seats located close to the railing where the Popemobile passes. One of us, Elizabeth Hamilton, who was a part of our group, but actually lives in Michigan, happened to be located right where the Popemobile stopped so the Holy Father could greet and kiss a baby. Elizabeth reached out and Pope Francis held her hand for several seconds. It was a moment she will remember for the rest of her life.
Bishop Malooly, as the highest ranking Bishop in attendance, was the first to greet Pope Francis after he concluded the Wednesday Morning Audience with the Papal Blessing.
Afterwards, our group gathered for a photo before lunch and some free time. Tonight is Mass and our farewell dinner.
Tomorrow morning it’s arrivederche Roma and back home with our souvenirs, photographs, and many wonderful memories and blessings.
QUOTES OF THE DAY: “I said, ‘Holy Father, thank you for being who you are – such a wonderful shepherd.’ He said, ‘Thank you. Will you please pray for me?’ And I said, ‘I do, every day.’ And Pope Francis said, ‘Make sure you do that, now.’ And that was it. It was very good.”
— Bishop W. Francis Malooly, recounting his conversation with Pope Francis.
“He (Pope Francis) turned around and he looked my way and I put my hand out and he held it for 2 to 3 seconds. It wasn’t just touching, it was a hand hold and shake. After he left, I just began to weep and I wept and I wept and I felt such love and forgiveness.”
— Elizabeth Hamilton, recounting her encounter with the Holy Father.