What a fun day on the parkway! A huge thank you to all of the men and women who pulled off an amazing day for all of us to enjoy. My day was unforgettable for sure. Starting the night before, getting the call that our friend Anne was inviting us to be with her up close and personal in row J. With that, George was our gracious driver at 6:30AM and got us to the Paoli train station with a few dozen of our closest friends on the early train. Once in the city, we breezed through the security line and explored the entire area. A favorite, was spending time in the grotto and stopping in to see the constant wonder of the Basilica.
Later, as we made our way to our seats, everyone was pleasant and upbeat knowing that the Holy father would soon be with us. We dinned on gourmet hot dogs for lunch, which Francee and Val said "hit the spot". By 2:00 PM you could feel and see the excitement. The press and lighting crew started to arrive. I must stop here and comment on how fantastic my brothers in the press looked. I love how nice they all looked dressed appropriately for mass, which is something that is very important to me.
The rumble of the motorcycles and helicopters started just moments before 4PM. The Holy father arrived right on time to a huge eruption of applause from the crowds. Mass was truly magical and inspirational, even to a guy who sometimes feels otherwise at times. There were so many nice touches including the dispensing of communion with the umbrella escorts. I particularly enjoyed watching so many groups of Sisters from all over the world with a smile from ear to ear the entire day.
Just two of my many favorite moments of the day are; We were just sitting taking it all in when the priest (Father Chieffo) who celebrated our wedding 31 years ago, happened to walk by and we got a chance to visit with him. Secondly, right in the middle of mass, Andrea Bocelli walked right next to me and I was so star struck I just enjoyed the moment without the camera!