The Pope’s Mass Sunday 28 July 2002, Downsview Park
14 September 2002
I got up at the time that I usually go to bed and took the TTC with people who were all dressed in their Sears best. I arrived at the grounds at 7am and walk into the crowd. It rains. Umbrellas go up. The boys choir begins to sing, and I shiver hearing Vivaldi’s Gloria which of course reminds me of the intro to the Frontline Pope documentary that was one of the reasons I wanted to see him in person. They also sang Handel’s Hallelujah, and this was entertaining while we waited. Then Elvis entered the building.
The Pope’s helicopter flew over the crowd and people got excited. The Pope is like a Santa Claus who dresses in white and doesn’t have a beard. I guess this was the adult version of the Santa Clause parade. People were yelling, “close the umbrellas so we can see!” Enough people did this, so that I caught a good glimpse of him. When he drove by I saw him from his bad side (cause with his illness he leans to one side, so I saw him from the side he leans away from) so I didn’t really see his face, but it was more than a little awe inspiring. I got caught up in the moment, with people yelling; “wave!” and I waved. The excitement was intense. I was awed and joy filled to see him, which felt a little embarrassing, but then again, that’s why I was there, to see in person this man who I feel has had a influence on my life.
I had faith that the rain would stop for the Mass, and it did. Throughout, I would follow those who were trying to get closer. For the most part the Pope was a green dot on the stage, and I watched the screens, but by the end I did get close enough to see the white of his hair. People were busy chatting and looking for lost members of their group and taking photographs, so it had this odd mix of solemnity and rock concert. With all the mud I thought of Woodstock, and one of the papers had described it as Popestock earlier in the week, and that seemed really appropriate that day. I felt bad when I had to squeeze past a couple of girl’s who praying during the benediction of the host, and I realized that I interrupted them in their moment. The Australians were on their knees at that point, which reminded me of the passage in the Bible where Jesus says, dont pray in public because then you’re just showing off and not honoring God, rendering the act sacrilege.
My rating for this is 8, cuz it was a once in lifetime experience and it was memorable. But that’s being totally subjective. If I wanted to pretend to be objective, I’d give it and the week surrounding it a 4 or even a 3, because the Catholics were weirdos, they trampled the grounds into mud, clogged up the drains so that business got flooded with sewage; preached their usual bullshit about how sex is bad and that all men had a duty to fatherhood, “whether spiritual or physical”, protested in front of the abortion clinic, clogged up the TTC, sang sing-alongs on the Go Trains, (especially that abysmal theme song, ugh) and generally drove me nuts with their fairy tales and “spontaneous discussion groups” on whether or not it was ok to marry Jews or Protestants. What an embarrassment to 2000 years of history and thought.
Instant Coffee Saturday Edition
- Sept 2002: Appeared in Instant Coffee Saturday Edition Issue No° 9
- 2002-2015 Archived on my websites & blog
- Sept 2015: this version produced