I have also shared in the past that as founder of the Children's Rosary, I rarely travel due to a genetic disability with my joints. Even slight bumps can cause joint dislocations due to a defect in my collagen. Crowds are extremely dangerous for me and as I need assistance for most thinks I tend to stay close to home. Yet when the location of the 2015 World Meeting of families was released and it was less than four hours from our home by car I took such an opportunity to prayer. In finding courage welling in my heart we took the leap and decided to go. Many times I humbly asked for your prayers and also humbly asked Our Blessed Mother to be the Travel Agent for our Children's Rosary team that was going.
Taking this week to reflect on all that happened I can see that each detail was carefully put in place. No severe injuries took place and despite large crowds on the final day for the outside Papal Mass we were all safe.
There was a feeling early on in the day Sunday that we should retreat to a more backward position and let others go more forward of us. We found a shady place under a tree along the parkway. We were told many times that being outside the center area we might not receive communion during Mass. Yet there was a peaceful feeling over toward the side and further back and a confidence we would be provided for in all ways. For most the day the flux of people was steady but not overwhelming. Most people were all going forward of us and we were safely positioned off to the side in the shade. Yet about two hours before the Mass the crowd got thicker and the sidewalk in front of us started to get filled in with chairs of people lining the parkway. As the walkway disappeared pilgrims began stepping over and around us on the grass. One of my sons who had fallen asleep on the ground narrowly missed some rapid feet that passed over his head but still we were all unharmed. Then the sound of sirens began and people jumped to their feet. The mass of people moved toward the fence lining the parkway. Pope Francis was coming. We looked to the jumbotrons to see what was happening. We could see him moving through the parkway periodically stopping to hold and kiss a child.
Then the open car stopped in front of the Basilica. Pope Francis emerged. He was going to the Knotted Grotto where intentions had been placed in honor of his visit. A place that we had visited and tied an intention for all the members of the Children's Rosary and all the intentions of the members of the Children's Rosary. To see Pope Francis go into the grotto presumably to pray and bless all the thousands of intentions tied in the spirit of Our Lady Undoer of Knots, moved my heart deeply. Moments later Pope Francis was once again moving briskly down the parkway.
As he drove by our area my too sons were balancing on chairs holding on to a tree hoping to catch a glimpse. I was further back with maybe one of the best views as it turned out. As the Pope moved by the crowd turned and began to run with him. This was the first time I became scared and the kids ran to protect me. As he moved further away things became more calm again. Mass followed. In the middle of Mass a feeling took hold of my heart. A deep desire to receive the Blessed Sacrament. The thought kept gnawing at my heart that with so many people how could we receive communion so far back and way off to the side. Yet I pushed these thoughts quickly away and began to again pray with all my heart. A man came up to us and told us that his group had to leave to catch a plane and they would be vacating their first row position along the parkway and did we want to move into their place. We quietly filed into their place as they left. This was shortly before communion time. Again I found myself deep in prayer asking for communion. Thinking of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. Holding on with complete confidence that indeed there would be plenty and actually an abundance. I prayed with the confidence of a child in her heavenly Father.
When I opened my eyes there were individuals walking down the clear parkway with escorts holding umbrellas with the Papal flag. The individuals were priests and deacons carrying the Blessed Sacrament. One man walked right where we were standing. He began giving out communion. I may have been the 10th person to receive communion faster than most Sunday Masses back home. All the people around us including our group were able to receive communion in a very peaceful way. Having received the Blessed Sacrament I went back to the area we originally had occupied. Unable to kneel with my joint problems I prayed sitting on the folding chair we had brought. It was at this time that I began to beg and plead with Our Lord for grace reminding Him that this was the World Meeting of Families and we were all there with Our Holy Father. I was like a beggar not relenting in my prayers for all the families of the Children's Rosary. Asking and pleading for grace to be poured into them. Normally I do not like to share pictures of myself but one of my family members snapped a picture during this time in prayer. I am including it as it represents the place where all of you were at the Papal Mass. You were all in my heart. I was praying for each one of you and your families.
Again I thank you for all of your prayers. Each part of the week beautifully unfolded and throughout which you all were remembered in prayer.
If you missed some of the other posts from this week which chronicled the visit to the World Meeting of Families links are included below:
Knotted Grotto in Honor of Pope Francis' Visit
Rainbow At the Papal Mass
"What About You?"
Nothing is Impossible With God