"A Bit of a Miracle" Washington Post' PopeWatch has a touching story of a couple waiting to catch a glimpse of the PopeMobile:
For an hour and a half they joked and sang and chanted. As noon approached the crowd swelled as workers from the World Bank streamed out to watch. Janitors in their work uniforms and accountants in dark business suits all jostled along the street and on park benches for a better view.
"It's a once in a lifetime thing to see the pope," said Nancy Lim, a budget officer for the World Bank. As noon approached, Lim moved through the crowd, debating the merits of different positions.
"To see the pope is to feel closer to him and the church," she said, explaining her anxiousness to get the best view possible.
Then suddenly the moment came upon them.
The boisterous Hispanic singers from Houston picked up the beat and raised their voices as the motorcade approached. Scattered cheers rose up from the crowd.
But as the actual popemobile came into sight and began to pass by, for a split-second, a hush fell over many in the crowd, as though shocked to finally encounter what they had been come so far and waited all morning to see. Even the boisterous Houston singers paused mid-song to take snapshots.
Then in the space of a few seconds it was over, and the motorcade had passed.
Merino turned to his wife to see what she had captured on camera.
"I don't know what happened," she said, looking at a blank screen. Jostled by the crowd, trying to see past the police, she had cracked under the pressure of the moment.
"I couldn't get the camera to work," she told her husband.
Merino reflecting on this for a moment then simply repeated his mantra: "You just never know what will happen on a pilgrimage. You just have to have an open mind and heart."
Crowds Line Up to Catch Glimpse of Pope; Dominicans Lead Prayer as Families, Students Await Arrival Zenit News Service. April 16, 2008:
The Holy Father arrived at the basilica this afternoon after a ride in the popemobile through the streets of Washington, D.C., where a throng of anxious supporters awaited him.
And once at the university, he found another throng -- whose deafening applause greeted him before he entered the basilica and sent him off once he had spoken with his brother bishops.
Miguel Martinez, a researcher from Arlington, Virginia, arrived four hours early to get a prized spot just outside the shrine, giving him the best chances to catch a glimpse of the Pope before or after his address.
Martinez told ZENIT that he made the sacrifice of coming so early "because [the Pope] is the Vicar of Christ," and to "reciprocate the affection he has shown to the entire Church, and now especially for the United States." ...
Mark Brzozoski, a librarian in Washington who took the day off to await the Pope's arrival, said he came because none of his other family members were able to make the trip. "There is something significant about making a pilgrimage," he said. "My family can't do it, so I am making the effort on their behalf -- bringing their prayers, as well as those of friends who have asked me to pray for them while in his presence."