Posted at 8:21 PM ET, 04/17/2008

The Pope's Meeting with Sex-Abuse Victims

I spoke with Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley about the pope's meeting with a small group of sex-abuse victims at the Vatican Embassy Thursday afternoon. He seemed very affected by it and said that he wasn't ready to talk about it except to say that it was prayerful and, he hoped, healing.

It must have been quite a meeting. The shy academic, as the pope has been described, and five people who went through hell at the hands of some of the priests in his flock. Apparently there were tears and there were prayers. Maybe it will help with the healing.

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Posted at 5:13 PM ET, 04/17/2008

Three Taken to Hospitals During Pope's Mass

District rescue workers responded to 37 calls for service this morning for the pope's mass, said Alan Etter, spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergncy Medical Services department.

The majority of the people were treated on the scene for problems like scrapes after falling down, he said. However, three people were transported to area hospitals, including one woman from the field of the stadium who dehydrated.

Two other people who were at the Metro station were taken to an area hospital, one of them for chest pains. None of the injuries appeared life threatening, Etter said.

-- Allison Klein

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Posted at 3:52 PM ET, 04/17/2008

Angling for a Glimpse

George Logusch, a 23-year old of graduate of Catholic University, came to the Law School lawn at the college at 8 a.m. today and secured a front row position to see Pope Benedict when he arrives for his 5 p.m. meeting with Catholic educators. Logusch graduated in May with a degree in architecture and wants to get a job designing churches to help "bring out the faith in a physical way."

Hundreds of students and teachers were on the lawn this afternoon, enjoying the beautiful weather, listening to a band play. Many watched the Mass at Nationals Stadium on a giant television screen installed on the lawn for the day.

But no one had a better viewing advantage than Logusch, who was positioned right behind the barriers next to the road. "I wanted this spot," he said, "so I could get just a glimpse of him."

-- Daniela Deane

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Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 04/17/2008

'The Pinnacle of My Catholic Faith'

Those who attended the Pope's mass at Nationals Stadium are heading home.

Scott Fartini, a 33-year-old seminarian from Roanoke, said taking part in the papal mass was more than special. It's been a difficult few years, he said, with the beating the church has taken over the sex abuse scandal involving priests. The enthusiam surrouding the visit, however, provided an energy boost -- so much so he walked from the stadium to Union Station.

"It has got to be the pinnacle of my Catholic faith," Fartini said. "Just seeing all the people and how they have been treating the church. It's all about hope."

-- Hamil R. Harris

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Posted at 10:47 AM ET, 04/17/2008

Addressing Sexual Abuse Again

From reporter Jacqueline Salmon:

For the third day in a row, the pope brought up the sexual-abuse crisis. This is a surprise. It had been expected that he would bring it up in his speech with the bishops yesterday, but he also discussed it on the flight over and he gave over a chunk of his Mass homily today to it. Here's what he said:

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Posted at 8:55 AM ET, 04/17/2008

The Pope's Traffic

Taking a look at today's situation on the Metro and the area's roads, Dr. Gridlock has posted an update on this morning's traffic situation on his Get There blog. So far, it seems, things are under control despite the unusual morning volume and reroutings caused by the papal mass.

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Posted at 8:51 AM ET, 04/17/2008

'I Will Be Very Close to the Pope'

The Metro system was swollen with people coming to the mass long before sunrise. Mark and Gayle Wozar and their sons, Michael and Andrew, rode in on the Green Line from College Park.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for my family," said Mark Wozar, a lifelong Catholic, who planned to be in the audience

Saulo Vicente, a 25-year old seminarian in the Archdiocese of Washington, would have a larger role. A native of Brazil, Vicente was chosen to hold the microphone for Pope Benedict as he delivers the mass. "I am very excited," he said. "I will be very close to the Pope."

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Posted at 8:49 AM ET, 04/17/2008

Crowd Pouring Toward Ballpark

By 8 a.m this morning, thousands of people were already pouring out of charter buses and the Navy Yard Metro station, heading toward Nationals Park.

The scene was an unusaul mix of ballgame and pilgrimage: hawkers sold Papal flags, Pope buttons, Pope T-shirts and a seat cushion with praying hands on it, the "saviour seat."

Carol King, 61, of Kensington said she won tickets for her and her husband through a lottery at the Holy Redeemer Church in Kensington.

"The pope is the vicar of Christ," King said. "He is the successor of Saint Peter. I mean he is just such an important figure."

-- David Farenthold

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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 04/17/2008

Voices From the Street

Voices from the street as the pope made his way through the day yesterday:

"This kind of chance only comes once in a lifetime. Even if it's just five seconds, if you saw him, you saw him. You were in his sight. You were right there with him. And no one can ever take that away from you."
-- Carlos Rivas, 18, who drove to D.C. with 115 others from New Jersey.

"The Pope for me is the physical representation of the history and the traditions of the church and where we have come from and where we are today."
-- Nicole Lombardo, 18, American University international relations student.

"To me, he is the head of the church and to see him in person was very exciting. He is a person who is such an inspiration."
-- Maria Litterio, 69, of Front Royal, Va.

"The pope represents a false church not founded on the Bible. The truth is what's in the word of God, not what the pope says. This is definitely a terrory we need to cover because who else is going to preach to these people? The pope?"
-- Donald Scheib, 28, Nanjemoy, Md., a member of the Anabaptist Brethren, trying to convert Catholics in the crowds at Catholic University.

"He represents Christ for us here on earth."
-- Terri Collins, 44, a Silver Spring schoolteacher.

"For me, he is the heart of what ministry is all about ... He is a great thinker. He is also a humble Christian. He walks with us as well as being our shepherd."
-- Rev. Michael Bellafiorie, 53, a Jesuit priest who teaches at Gonzaga High School in the District.

"It was pretty cool. He was riding in this weird white car with a big glass container like a tin can. He was waving; he even looked in our direction."
-- Jared Grossnickel, 9, who lives in the District and waited with his parents for two hours to see the Pope.

"I was overwhelmed to see him in person and when the people started running toward him it reminded me of the story in the Bible when Christ was with the multitudes and everybody was climbing on the trees."
-- Rose Mubang, 49, a nurse from Lanham.

"It was a long wait but well worth it because you're in the presence of God's grace."
-- Ronald McNamara, 52, of Annapolis.

"The Pope takes after Jesus. I hope I shake his hand. It seems like Christmas, so Merry Christmas!"
-- Sherry Smith, 60, of Bel Air, Md. who was waiting outside Catholic University in a wheelchair.

Quotes compiled by Daniel LeDuc.

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Posted at 6:13 AM ET, 04/17/2008

God and Nationals Park

From reporter Jacqui L. Salmon

I'm here at Nationals Park at 4:30 a.m. Quite a site. 300 red-jacketed ushers swarming the place.

The stage and the field are in gold and white. 5,000 white seats are lined up, but the diamond has been cordoned off with white fencing and some kind of artificial bushes.

The forecast is sunny and 70s. I wonder how many Novenas Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, had to perform to get that weather? This would have miserable in the rain.

A couple of notes of what's to come: The pope will (obviously) be celebrating the mass along with what appears to be half the priest and bishop population of the United States: 250 bishops and 1,300 priests. I'm told the archdiocese was surprised by the demand.

The altar, papal chair, pulpit and lecturn were designed by two students at Catholic University. The chalice was made in Spain and the vestments were made in Holland. Holland? Go figure.

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Posted at 4:44 PM ET, 04/16/2008

Pontiff-Crazy at CUA

From reporter Susan Kinzie:

No class today at Catholic University: All the more time to blog about the Pope.
"The Pope at CUA," launched by staff at the student newspaper the Tower, has carried round-the-clock updates about the historic visit to the U.S. and the way their campus is going pontiff crazy.

Chase McAlpine, a junior who thought of the blog and stayed up all that night getting it going, said they're hoping to catch the excitement on campus and document the historic visit from a student perspective.

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