Reading about Pope John Paul II’s upcoming beatification reminded me of an entry I had written in my journal back in 1980 describing his visit to Boston the year before. Though my memory of the day is foggy, I suspect I took some liberties in describing the event. In fact, I distinctly remember that my grandmother would not let me take a bath when I got home because she claimed it would make me sick. The part about some black guy pushing me into the mud also sounds suspect. Anyway, the uncorrected, unexpurgated entry dated October 1, 1980 follows. The picture below is from a much later encounter I had with His Holiness after my deaconate ordination in 1991.
I remember being in Boston Common a year ago today literally soaked to the skin trying to listen to the pope’s homily. There was no way we could keep dry because if you put your umbrella up to protect yourself people would complain because “they can’t see his holiness.” I tried to listen to the pope’s homily but there was this lady next to me who was praying out loud and saying amen to everything the pope said. It was finally drawing near the end, the experience was great but the conditions worsened my attitude, and I had gotten in line when this black guy cuts me in line, makes me lose my balance, and fall right in the mud. I got up fast and told my mother that we should skip communion before we get killed. When we got home the best feeling I ever had was that hot bath I took. If the pope ever returns to Boston and it rains then I’m staying on the bus.