As I type this entry, I’m sitting in the media center in downtown DC… in this room alone I can hear at least 8 different languages being spoken. In front of me, there are three journalists having a conversation in French. To my right, there’s a whole row of Spanish television and radio organizations; there’s a photographer in the back who is from Brazil, but now lives in NYC; and scattered about the room there are journalists from Germany, France and several other European countries; not to mention the languages that I don’t recognize. (Remember- I’m not a linguist…)
Of course, this diversity pours out onto the streets of DC- some speaking their native African tongue, others fluent in Chinese and Japanese (not that I can tell them apart…). A stop in Chinatown reveals not only Chinese cuisine, but Mexican, American, Thai, Lebanese, and even a few Irish pubs. It’s amazing the transformation that takes place when you step inside the door to escape the hustle and bustle that is DC. But I digress…
In our previous blogs and the stories we’ve cut, you’ve met some of the people we’ve met throughout Papal Visit 2008: the Hispanic Catholics from Cali, the Nebraskan family who lived in Rome, the tried and true DC residents themselves, etc. It is amazing to me that so many different people are all in the same place…. many of them for the same reason- to get a glimpse of the Holy See.
But all of this just keeps reminding me of something that a priest told me when I was in grade school– that the word “Catholic” means “universal.” How appropriate that the head of the Catholic church is drawing together people from across the nation and around the globe: the committed Catholics thrilled to be so close to their devoted leader, members of other denominations who come just out of respect, the people that have planned the events, the site coordinators, the maintenance staff at the Basilica, the journalists working tirelessly to share the event with the public, the vendors selling memorabilia on the streets, even the waitstaff who keep the media center stocked with mints and fresh pitchers of ice water. They’re not all Catholic– and they don’t have to be– but they’re all here, and they’re all working together for the same cause– to make sure Pope Benedict XVI is warmly welcomed in the land of the free. I feel so blessed to be here…. and I think that feeling is universal (at least in the media center. haha)