Tuesday, October 1, 2013

34 Years Ago - Pope John Paul II in Boston

Thirty-four years ago today, I was privileged to be one of the organists for Pope John Paul II's first Mass in the Unites States, in the rain, on Boston Common. The excitement of this young seminarian that day is a memory that will stay with me forever.

Here is a link to a video of that Mass. If you have the patience, look carefully at 44.48 in the video and there you will see a very young man, who is yours truly.

Here are a few photos of that day. This first one shows the 400-voice "papal choir" behind the Holy Father.

Here is an aerial view of Boston Common.

 This was my first glimpse of the Holy Father.

The pope spent the night on the campus of Saint John's Seminary and the next morning, we seminarians walked down to the field where the helicopter awaited to take the pope to New York City, for his address to the United Nations. I was standing about five feet from him when he looked at us and promised he would be back. He extended his hands to us and a photographer snapped the following photo. It was later re-touched and the background of the seminary grounds was removed.

Today, as I remember those feelings and the joy I felt about my Catholic faith, I must admit that that spark is alive once again through the person of Pope Francis. Who would have known?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Steve Sarcione said...

Thanks for sharing this memory Jerry. I was in that crowd as well, a young man who had just graduated high school the previous June and was only beginning to contemplate a priestly vocation that day on the Common. It is so wonderful and moving for me to see the young, vibrant, soon-to-be St. John Paul II again. He was, and remains, an inspiration to me and, God willing, I will never forget that day or him for as long as I live.

Denise Morency Gannon said...

I was there, standing in the mud and pourng rain with other young people. Such a greay day. I remember you in that choir with Frank Strahan and Pat Romeo. We still use Frank Strahan's acclacations( revised to meet the required missal changes). I wrote Come Follow Me bas3d on the pope’s homily. The first four lines of the song are directly from JPII. The song is its 34th year, still used and in its second release on the collection Tell Them About Me. Who would have thought indeed. All from one day in the mud and rain. My Stonehill College choir sang for him in 2004. Old and sick but still vibrant. Thanks for the memory.