A most fearsome alarm clock, the cold rain simultaneously woke hundreds of thousands of pilgrims camping at Downsview Park. You can imagine the sight of groggy pilgrims hurriedly hunting for the rain gear they forgot to bring. And, as biology dictates, the second item on the morning itinerary was the search for a bathroom.
As I needed to make this trek myself, I volunteered to also pick up breakfast for my diocesan group. But though I knew the crowd would move slowly, I couldn’t predict the interruption that would come.
The problem wasn’t the food service, which, clearly in top form after nearly a week of practice, ran with remarkable efficiency. I grabbed two bags of breakfast and reentered the masses, hoping to get the meal to my group while still hot.
It wasn’t long, however, before my progress ground to a halt. Those around me, all sharing the same mission, asked each other why we were no longer moving forward. Then, pilgrim-to-pilgrim, the answer filtered back: the Pope’s travel route cut through our path, the walkways were now closed, and there was no detour.
So, with literally no where to go, we resigned ourselves to our predicament. When the rain picked up once more, a lovely French pilgrim shared her poncho. Some older ladies nearby needed water, so we opened our food bags passed around the contents. And an hour later, the Popemobile drove right by our barricade, offering us an ideal vantage point of the Holy Father. It was perfect.
This week, I hope we’ve all taken a moment to think back to World Yourh Day in Toronto. Watch anew the images of this historic event for Canada and our Church: our retrospective special, Reliving WYD 2002, is now online and can be accessed by clicking HERE