Back in 2002, I was attending World Youth Day in Toronto. My husband and mom took care of my 3 kids and I attended events all week in the city. My friends and I tootled around Toronto as tourists in our own town. We had our printed schedules, but some of the most memorable moments seemed to happen by chance.
One day we walked right into a gathering crowd, lining the path for the Pope Mobile.
I know I wasn’t the only one who thought he looked right into my eyes from just a couple feet away, as his vehicle zigzagged through the crowd. There was a hushed, paused moment as he passed by and we all felt the holiness of his presence.
In a crowd of up to 500 000 people, I bumped into 2 cousins (one from Maryland, one from Arizona) and a couple of my favorite priests during the week of activities.
We made the 10 km pilgrimage to camp out in the sun, the rain, the mice and the frogs. There was a downpour of rain (with unpublicized tornado warnings we learned about after), but the sun came out as Pope John Paul II spoke to the crowd.
Each day, I would come home as late as midnight. I think it was the Wednesday night, Bill listened patiently to my excited summary of the day and when I finished, he said “OK, but do you know what’s really cool? The Holy Father received a copy of your book today.”
I had just released A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families the previous year.
We were aware from our parish priest that there was an older couple living in our town: the last remaining relatives of the Pope: Ludwig, the first cousin of Karol and his wife Elizabeth. Ludwig had died, but Fr. Leslie continued to bring the Eucharist to Elizabeth.
On that Wednesday morning, Fr. Leslie had given Bill a call. He told Bill that he would like to drop by and pick up one of my books and deliver it to Elizabeth before she was picked up for her visit with the Holy Father.
Elizabeth said that she gave ‘Karol’ my book and he flipped through the pages and he said “This is good”. (insert my husband’s imitation of the Holy Father saying these words here).
He told Elizabeth that he planned to take the book with his personal belongings, to look at on the plane. He then looked at the back of the book, pointed to my picture and said
“Tell her to keep doing what she is doing…for families”.
Needless to say, I’m going to keep doing what I was doing…and I think that that means creating Catholic teaching tools to help families celebrate our Faith…and I’m having a lot of fun doing it!
The story doesn’t end here! Read more here:
Copyright 2013 Monica McConkey