StJP Student Experience: A Holy Way to End the Day

-an essay by Liam O., grade 5, special to the Daily Protector

Do you ever think back to something that happened to you that was awesome, and it was just pure luck? You know, those moments when you were at the right place at the right time?

Well, that happened to me when I went to Europe this past summer. It all started a couple of years ago when my Mom wanted to go to Paris for her 40th birthday. After years of planning, we finally left for Europe. Since we were going to Europe, a place you can’t go to all of the time, we decided to also go to Venice while we were there. I really enjoyed our time in Paris and was kind of sad when we had to leave to go to Venice, but then again, I was going to Italy!

Once we arrived in Venice and got settled in our apartment, my Mom told my sisters and me that we had to go to bed early because we had to wake up at 5:00 AM (11:00 PM PA time), to get on a train to Rome.

The next day I grumbled when my Dad woke me up. I got out of bed, got dressed, and soon enough, we were on our way to the train station. Venice is surrounded by buildings and water, and the streets are very narrow.The streets would be packed with people during the day. Also, there were no cars, just water taxis and boats. My Mom decided we would walk to the train station, which was fine with me. It was really pretty out because the sun was rising. There was a lot of twist and turns on our way there, and I was getting really tired and hungry. My parents said we would eat the snacks they brought on the train. I was so happy when we arrived at the train station.

When we got to Rome we decided to go to the Colosseum, which was awesome! After we got out of the Colosseum, a taxi drove us over to the Vatican. For the rest of the day we had lunch (which was good), went to the Sistine Chapel (which was amazing), and then we just walked around the city. The whole day, though, my Dad had his mind fixed on going to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Around 4:30 PM (10:30 AM PA time), we walked over to St. Peter’s Basilica. Don’t get me wrong, of course I wanted to go to St. Peter’s Basilica, but I was exhausted from walking all day and the line to St. Peter’s Basilica was packed. Just to make things better, the line was right under the blazing hot sun! Surprisingly though, the wait wasn’t that long. We got in around 4:50 and took our seats. What caught my eye when we got in was the media. They had all of their cameras set up to the right of the room. I thought to myself, “W​hy would they be here?” T​hen the first thing that came to my mind was, “P​ope Francis!” S​o I asked my Dad if Pope Francis was coming, but he said no. Normally, I would have just let go of it, but since there were groups of priests and cardinals coming in, you could obviously tell something big was happening. My Mom was trying to look up what was going on on her phone but couldn’t find out. I decided to ask my Dad again if Pope Francis was coming, but he said, “Nah. There would be more people.” He did have a point, though. It wasn’t packed enough to get the message out that Pope Francis was coming or something big was going to happen. As Mass got close to starting I asked again if Pope Francis was coming but my Dad, once again, said no. All of the sudden people stood up and crowded towards the aisle. Then, as if it were magic or pure luck, Pope Francis walked into St. Peter’s Basilica.

Liam didn't need to see the Pope in Philadelphia. He saw him in Rome!

Liam didn’t need to see the Pope in Philadelphia. He saw him in Rome!

I was just amazed. I was in the presence of Pope Francis! Once the Pope sat down, everybody sat down. Then he started reading from a scripture, I thought. I couldn’t really tell with all of the people in front of me. I couldn’t understand what Pope Francis said anyway because he spoke in a different language. It was still really cool to listen to him talk. After a couple of minutes, my Mom said we had to go get on the train back to Venice.

On the train ride, my mind was racing with thoughts. It turns out it was the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation that Pope Francis had set up. I thought the same thoughts over and over again…I didn’t really want to go to St. Peter’s Basilica…we didn’t go intentionally knowing Pope Francis was going to be there…it was all just amazing.

Then I thought to myself, W​hat a holy way to end the day.

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