By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Fifty-one people from throughout Iowa traveled to Philadelphia to see the pope on a Legacy charter sponsored tour. But not all made it into the papal Mass on Sept. 27.
Dick and Mary Ann Azinger of St. Joseph Parish in DeWitt were among those who never made it into the papal Mass. Security checks kept them waiting in line for more than six hours. Still, the couple said they were not disappointed in the trip overall.
“I was impressed that the people were packed liked sardines and everyone got along. There were no tempers flaring,” Dick said. He said they heard part of the papal blessing through someone’s phone. “The people did not give up at the chance to see him.”
Mary Ann said the bus was scheduled to leave at 10 a.m. Sunday for the concluding Mass, but their chaplain, Father Chris Reising of the Diocese of Des Moines, said they should leave at 9 a.m. “We should have left at 7 a.m.,” she said.
The couple understood that security personnel were trying to protect the pope, but with an anticipated crowd of a million or more people, extra personnel should have been available. The line they stood in was for people who had tickets.
She most appreciated the faith of the Latino and Asian Catholics she witnessed. “They bought anything they could to bring back home with them.”
Overall, she and her husband think Catholicism is very much alive and they’re considering a trip to the Vatican to see the pope. That was Mary Ann’s wish for this trip — to see a living pope in person.
Also on the trip were Carrie Delcourt and Deb Williams of St. Anthony Parish in Davenport. The friends of more than 40 years traveled together on the same bus as the Azingers. “We got through security about 15 minutes after Mass started,” Carrie said. “We just kept walking along just inside the security area. It actually thinned out the closer we got.”
They could see the pope as a dot in the distance and watched as much as they could on a large TV screen. They were able to receive Communion. “There were a lot of disappointed people,” Carrie said. Since she could not hear all of the Mass, and the screen was partially blocked by trees, she plans to watch a replay at home of what she captured on video. “I could hear things, but I just couldn’t take it all in,” she said. “It’s all about the journey. We were pilgrims. I enjoyed my spiritual journey.”