You may be thinking why am I placing this here under Argentina? Because! the pope we were so blessed to see back in 2013 and who still is the current pope is non other than an Argentine man! His real name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and he is known as Papa Francisco, or Pope Francis. The first Latinx pope! Pope Francis is the 266th Bishop of Rome. Francis was elected to the papacy on March 13, 2013, to replace Benedict XVI, who resigned from office two weeks earlier.
How we happened to see him!
This is a very special memory I share with my son, who at that time was about 10 years old. We were in Italy and staying near the Termini Train Station in Rome. Near our hotel was this huge church, a block huge! called Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. I had never heard of it or much less seen it. And one day coming back from sight seeing I begged my son to go inside. I promised I would only take 10 minutes to see some art. this is the only got I got to see…
…because… as soon as we went in, about 4:00PM, we noticed that there were only religious people in the church… meaning nuns, monks, priests and I even wondered if we should be there at all until I noticed two other tourists. The air was electric in anticipation…one could feel the excitement on the nuns. Almost like fan energy.
Then my son and I spotted some men coming in black suits, dark glasses and earphones. I said to my son, I think someone special is coming in, let’s go there. He asked, the president?! I said, no, more like… the pope. I had not finished saying the word when he walked in… !!!
He went into a chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary. I later learned that he loves Mary very much and this church is dedicated to her so he likes going there. I guess we were meant to see him… yes! we were so blessed!
He was in the chapel for about 20 minutes and people started gathering inside the church… word spread quickly!
He walked towards the main altar and said hello to everyone, and prayed and blessed us. There were a lot more people now:
My son was so excited he refused to leave the church until he was gone. So as the pope took his leave, my son told me, “Run mami! , I know where the garage is! I know where he’ll leave from…” I was like what…wait! He ran off! I caught up with him after running to the back of the church and we stood there in what looked like the door to an underground garage… and we saw him exit!!! And what I love about this pope, is his humbleness. The car he was in, was not a limo… it was a blue Volkswagen Golf!!! We and all the people gathered there waved and my son screamed “¡¡¡Adios papa!!!” And then he turned to me… “Mami, he saw me!!! He saw me!!!” ^ ^. It’s incredible because in the photo, it does look like he’s looking at us!
. Such a precious sweet moment! On the way back to the hotel my son said… “Mamita if you ever ask me to go into a church again, I will never complain again!” To this day he has not! ^ ^