Pope John Paul II

Today, we mourn the death of our beloved Pope.
I cried when I learned he had died. I am saddened by the loss, much like a sadness one would feel at the passing of a grandparent, I guess.
News reports and tributes are being aired at cable news networks here. They speak of a Pope who had touched many lives. The speak of different experiences people had of the Pope while he was still alive. I have my own personal story to tell for those who care to listen.

It was January 1995. World Youth Day in Manila, Philippines. The Youth rally at Luneta Grandstand was the climax of the week-long celebration. I went with the rest of the members of our youth group.

I remember that during the evening session with the Pope, as we sang, he stood up and twirled his cane. It was such a thrill to see him do that. I guess I felt thrilled that he enjoyed the evening as much as I was. And it was nice to see the top man of the Church show his fun side.

Then, after the rally, a friend & I decided to come down from the place we were into the streets because we were going to look for some people. As we were going to cross the street, the crowd was stopped by police. We did not know why. Then we saw the Popemobile coming. I was going to see the Pope! As the Popemobile passed, I cheered and waved along with everyone else - chanting "John Paul 2, we love you!" And I swear, he turned towards me and looked straight at me and waved back. We locked eyes! Woohoo... it was so exhilirating!

I may sound like some crazed fan - fantasizing about meeting her idol. Well, I may not have met him face-to-face. I may not have kissed his hand. But you cannot take away from me that night, when for a fleeting moment, I felt his eyes look straight into mine. It is a moment I will cherish forever.

John Paul II, we love you!