Great, but With Some Regrets

Here are some observations from my colleague, Daniela Deane, who watched the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI at Andrews Air Force Base today. More than 800 people -- clergy members, White House supporters and members of the military and their families -- crowded onto bleachers on the tarmac to cheer the arrival of the pontiff, who looked quite merry after his flight. (But then, he probably wasn't crammed into the middle seat with a mini-bag of pretzels for a meal):

Everyone was really excited to see the pope in person -- but there were some regrets: The zoom on the camera didn't work; they didn't get to touch him and they certainly didn't get to go for coffee with him and ask him what life after death was like.

But it was still a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone who went to Andrews Air Force Base this afternoon.

"It was fantastic," said Frances McConnell from Forestville, Maryland. "I guess I would've liked to see him a bit closer though." McConnell, 66, pulled out her camera when Benedict XVI walked by in his white robe, white skullcap and red shoes, hoping to get closer to him by way of the zoom. "It didn't work, though," she said. "I'm not sure why. It was still great."

Maelynn Mendoza, a 15-year-old ninth-grader at Bishop McNamara High School, said if she could, she would've told the pope: "Hi! Welcome to America. I hope you like it." She admitted, though, that if she did actually get to talk to the pope, her "heart would be pounding so much, I wouldn't have made any sense. I would've asked him something stupid like how his flight was or something."

Mendoza's schoolmate, Abby Edejer, 15, says it would've been great to "get to touch him" or even "go for a coffee with him and really talk."

Mendoza said that if she did get to ask him some questions, she'd want to know, "what he does for fun?"

In a more spiritual vein, she'd like to ask him "what is life really like after death and purgatory, what's that like?"

Bishop Martin Holley of Washington, one of the many U.S. church dignitaries at the arrival ceremony, said Pope Benedict was "bringing hope to us." Asked if we needed more hope here in the United States, Holley said: "There's always more room for faith, hope and love."

By Jacqueline L. Salmon |  April 15, 2008; 8:15 PM ET
Previous: No More Tickets to See the Pope | Next: What Not to Bring to the Mass


Please email us to report offensive comments.

How come millions of priests and preachers get to touch young children and yet Frances McConnell and Abby Edejer did not get to touch the pope. Parents are advised to keep their children at least 500 feet away from any priest or pope when arriving at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport for the Republican National Convention.

Posted by: Pastor Ted | April 16, 2008 4:31 AM

Why is the head of this criminal pedophilia ring not in prison? And why are the child rapists themselves not in jail.

If my next door neighbor committed these acts he would be in prison faster than you could say "I am ashamed."

Good christians - what a joke!

Posted by: Bud in Texas | April 16, 2008 10:30 AM

Wow! I saw the Pope all the way from the West Coast. He, the pope, was in the clouds with "The Ghost Riders In The Sky".

Posted by: pedphilialite | April 16, 2008 3:36 PM

nice anti catholic bigoted comments so far. you bigots fail to realize that in 2007 the clergy in trouble was .00175%

thats huge progress made by the church whereas other denominatons and public schools still have a 4.0000% abuse problem. I don't see you wise acres concerned about school teachers. and I'll bet as soon as you're done making your intelligent comments here, you'll be googling your next porn flick.

Posted by: trent | April 17, 2008 1:05 AM

yeahh!!! i was interviewed too...but i didnt say too much to be put in..haha its cool. i luv u guys!! congrats mymy and abby!

Posted by: !! | April 30, 2008 7:04 PM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2008 The Washington Post Company