On September 25, Pope Francis traveled via motorcade through Central Park to bring hopeful cheer to 80,000 people. Lucky New Yorkers and visitors were able to first-hand witness the historical day full of crisp September breezes and blissful peace. The whirlwind tour for the Pope must have been as exhausting to him as it was to ticketed guests who waited in TSA security lines for over two and half hours to walk through the gates of the world-famous plot of land. Some had earned entrance by having their name drawn in citywide lottery, while others were by the grace of God given tickets by random strangers on the streets of Manhattan.
Under usual circumstances a gathering that proved to carry the city’s largest security detail of all time would have produced gripping and complaining by attendees. New Yorkers love to express their opinion, especially when something is going slow or standing in the way of efficiency. But, surprisingly it was as if the heavens themselves poured down a potion in the air that soothed and calmed the lines over-pouring Central Park West.
After finally entering the event babies were seen giggling as the crowd pleasantly walked along to the point where the man of the moment would pass. No one pushed. Everyone just patiently waited for history to happen. At around 5:10 pm a roar was heard from the top of the park. It was a signal for those perched farther south near Columbus Circle that they were about to be graced with something special – something that they could tell their grandchildren about some day.
The crowd held out cell phone cameras as children were propped on parent’s shoulders and the elderly were allowed to push their way to the front. Even police officers rose to their tippy-toes for a better view. And, then the white chariot appeared as if a floating cloud had come down from the trees to blow gentle breezes across tingling faces.
Pope Francis surrounded by the blaring lights of an enormous security detail simply waved and angelically smiled to the audience. The peaceful presence was outstanding. People began to weep tears of joy as some screamed out, “I love you!”
Like a wedding or a graduation it all happened so quickly one barely knew it had happened. The Pope’s motorcade sunk away down the curving path and exited the park. The leftover euphoric ecstasy powerfully granted every human there a gift. It was a present full of joy and freedom from stress, anxiety and fear. It may have only lasted a minute, but it was a moment full of magic.