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WYD08: Boat-a-Cade Escapade

Mary Rose Bacani Valenti

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The unexpected happened! Last night, I found out that I was going to be part of the Salt + Light crew on the papal boat (it was me, Wally, and Sebastien). This morning, I was told that we’d be positioned on the top deck with the over 200 pilgrims chosen to be in the papal boat, and that we’d be the only media on top! How overwhelming!
When I boarded the boat and went all the way to the top deck, I was really happy to see all the pilgrims with their flags. They were instructed about their responsibilities - show their excitement, wave their flags, the whole world is watching them!
This opportunity gave me a chance to talk to wonderful people. A married couple, Jude and Veronica, from Malaysia told me of what a blessing this invitation to be in the papal boat was for them. After the Holy Father boarded the papal boat, called the Sydney 2000, another pilgrim, Antoine, exclaimed “I saw him -- He waved at me first!”
A young man from the Military Diocese in Sydney told me of how excited he is to be seeing the Holy Father. He actually recognized Salt + Light: “Hey, I know you guys. I’ve been watching you on the web since World Youth Day in Cologne! I was there!”
These 200 pilgrims stayed on the deck the whole time. The Holy Father was never meant to go up to that deck. 16 pilgrims were chosen to meet him personally, and they were one deck down. Yet they kept screaming, singing, and cheerleading for the Pope.
As one pilgrim put it, “Hey, if he can hear us, that’s good enough for me!”
Image courtesy of WYD2008/Getty Images

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