Protesters, Anti-Catholic Chants, and THE FAITHFUL…all in the same place.

Let’s talk about how crazy things were Thursday.  Well I should say that Wednesday after spending the afternoon writing and show and sending our video, we headed back to Heidi’s for a BBQ.  Yep, we celebrated Benedict’s 81st birthday! haha no but seriously…it was fun. she had her co-workers over and we met a bunch of people who work at the Capital.  So Thursday morning we woke up at like 6:30 or something and got dressed to go to Nationals Stadium.  Half asleep, we got on the Metro and got off at the stop titled “Stadium”.  I can remember wondering why the heck we hadn’t seen tons of people at the Metro stop or why no one was walking around outside the stadium. And then at the same time, Kate and I realized that we were at the wrong stadium.  The soccer stadium.  YEAH I KNOW!  what kind of journalists are we? Well if our live truck would have been fixed maybe we would have been able to drive there NOT take the Metro (let me note that we don’t actually have a livetruck, but it became the on going joke).  So we hopped back on the Metro and headed towards Navy Yard (the proper stop).  Only it was so chaotic!!! one of the metro cars broke down and they had to empty it.  So the platform was packed with more people then there were trains to take us there.  Kate and I snuck around to the front and loaded onto the first car.

So we made it there!!  The scene was almost overwhelming.  People flooding out of the Metro and onto the Nationals Stadium grounds.  Pro-Life groups handing our bumper stickers, people singing…and what I found most interesting…people holding “Need Tickets” signs.  Yep…just like outside a baseball game in the summer.  I saw this as a great story.  I mean, look at these faithful, here despite the fact that they don’t have tickets.  I found myself wanting to take off my “journalist hat” and make a sign too.  I really wanted to go inside to see the mass.  REALLY BAD!  but in other news…we got to the scene before many journalists did but there was a lady there from the network that ended up doing the same story as us…interviewing the people who were waiting for tickets.  I like to think they got the story idea from us college kids, but the truth is, it’s probably a story that everyone does every year. haha.

Anyway, a lot of people were getting tickets, so we interviewed them.  But oldly enough I could never track down the people who gave the tickets out.  It was like they handed them over and just dissapeared into the crowd.  IT was truly one of the greatest random acts of kindness I had seen.  And it sure made people happy to get tickets!!! It makes me smile thing about it.  

At some point we decided to move from our camped out spot.  We went to the other entrance and filmed the pope driving in (in his limo so we didn’t even know it was him).  This is where the scene just got crazy.  

There was a big screen TV that was broadcasting the mass for those who were outside and couldn’t get into the mass.  Such faithful people.  AMAZING the faith they had.  One woman started crying as the Pope came out into the Stadium.  She was crying “Benedicto! God Bless America” and waving at the screen.  She was singing along with the music and soo happy to be there.  We interviewed her and she reached in her bag and took out a stool that she brought “In case I get tired” she said…and laughed.  Her joy and faith was so amazing to me.  Here is a woman who can’t get into the actual mass to see the Pope, yet she’s so touched by the fact that she’s in the presence of the man that she’s thrilled.  Here I am wishing I was inside…but I realized why I wasn’t…i needed to see the faith in that woman. 

So within about 5 mins, all chaos broke out.  All the protesters moved from the streets to the stadium entrance, megaphones and all.  Shouting things like “you worship a dead woman” (Mary).  “you never took jesus down from the cross” “you kill him every Sunday when you sacrifice him at the alter” and random illogical and ignorant comments.  I found it hard, i wanted to say something these people.  Like I have nothing wrong with being against the Catholic church and I know it isn’t perfect, but SERIOUSLY people we all believe in the same God.  And if you’re gonna put down someone’s faith, at least know the facts!  right?!?!

Perhaps the funniest part of this scene though, was Kate filming.  haha i know it sounds funny, BUT she was trying to get shots of the protesters, and she was once again in the middle of a large pack of people.  One side…the protesters, the otherside…Pro-life people praying the rosary. haha I know I shouldn’t be laughing, but it was kinda funny.  I have to give everyone props for being witness to their faith.  It was like as the protesters got loud, the pro life group got louder.  And still over in one corner of the street, a group of faith watching the mass and singing along.  It was quite a scene.  I can’t really describe it as well as it was.  

So anyway, after getting plenty of vide and interviews we headed back to the media center and got some video of the feed. We had a few hours left to get shots of stuff in D.C. and “be tourists” for a bit.  So we went to the Whitehouse, I shot a stand up.  More protesters showed up. haha they really are entertaining! 

After walking around in many wrong directions, making u-turns, retracing steps…we spent that afternoon at the Modern Art Museum.  It was a nice way to finish off the trip.

Long story short, we ended up at the airport about 40 mins before our flight left.  We checked in…got through security and hit our gate right as they were boarding.  I guess you could say we don’t waste time!!

I fully intend on writing a full reflection about this whole experience when I get some time to really think about it all.  But in the meantime I can say this much…this week really was a spark for me.  It lit the fire in my passion!  It reminded me that no matter where I end up…this is what I want to do.  Being a journalist is an amazing responsibility and also an amazing opportunity and blessing! 

I am blessed. We are blessed.



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