On 8th February 2015 on his way to say Mass at a church on the outskirts of Rome, Pope Francis made an unannounced stop at a shantytown which is home to 200 migrants, many of whom are from his South American homeland.
I saw a 1.53 minute video on YouTube by searching for “pope surprise visit” and I have looked at the footage several times because in it there is a woman who goes in that “edited” 113 seconds from excitement to something far deeper that I am struggling to find the words to explain – I am mesmerized by her.
The Pope stands at the entrance to the shantytown and there is great excitement as about 50 people run to him down a path and greet him and receive his blessing and take photographs of him.
He then calls them to prayer and In Spanish they recite The Lord’s Prayer and that is when I notice the woman’s mood change, she is affected deeply by the experience and I sense that something has changed in her life that is far more important than the souvenir photo that was taken with her on his left arm at the beginning.
This Pope is saying and doing some profound things which at their heart is a deep simplicity, personal humility and love for the poor.
We all carry in our own way the battle scars of life, rich and poor alike, and that short footage and the woman’s transition from excitement to healing (is that the word?) spoke deeply to me of how in reaching out to others, especially the lonely and dispossessed in our own neighbourhood, we too can be transformed.
My next blog will be : Prelude in Classic Style