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  • St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
    Easter Vigil Mass 2002

    The nuns behind me were jealous I had a great place to stand, right on the aisle, and they wanted my spot badly. At first they put their heads down humbly and gave me a look of sadness, but when I didn't give in they started to push.....hard. The railing was right at waist level and was pressing into hip bone, it hurt.

    Eventually the lights went out in the giant basilica, the largest ever to exist. All of the lights, that is, except for some candles. At that moment, not only the nuns, but the entire multi-national crowd, calmed.

    Then the procession began. As I leaned over the railing and looked down the aisle, I saw the man that I had heard about ever since I was born in 1981 (the year he was shot): Pope John Paul II, also known as Karol Wojtyla.

    Although I am Protestant in my faith, I had learned to have a serious respect for John Paul II. To see a man in person who had such an influence, such an inspiration to so many millions of people all over the world, was powerful. Especially in this setting.

    We were all told to refrain from flash photography. Some people followed this rule, some didn't. I captured this image with a floppy disk digital camera and the flash off when John Paul The Great stood within arms reach of me.

    I'll never forget the feeling and I'll never be able to describe it.
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