4/18/2008
Update from Karen

Eddie and Karen Garnett at the White House

Note: Received last night and posted this morning. Karen and husband Eddie were at the Papal Mass at Nationals Stadium yesterday.

April 17, 2008

The day of the Papal Mass at Nationals Stadium in Washington, DC

Our day started when we left to get to the Metro station at 6:45 am. We had no trouble getting there, but I have to say that in all my March for Life metro experiences, I had never been on a metro train that was "so" crowded. We were basically "sandwiched" together on the metro to get to Nationals Stadium. But the atmosphere even on the metro was one of great enthusiasm and anticipation.

We got to Nationals at about 7:45 am, and the line to get through security was long, just over an hour - but oh, so worth it! We got inside the stadium and were making our way to our seats which were on the field, in row "Y" (ie the 25th row), to the right of the altar. As we were heading down to the field, the Bishops were processing in right then. Awesome sight!

The weather, just as it had been yesterday, was absolutely spectacular - not a cloud in the clear blue sky, temperature in the 70s. The Holy Father arrived in the popemobile and rode around the stadium at 9:30 am to wonderful cheers. The Mass began at 10 am and we had a clear view of the altar and the Pope's chair.

It was such an incredible experience to be physically present at this Mass with our Holy Father, in our country, with so many tens of thousands of other pilgrims! I had attended St. Gianna Beretta Molla's canonization Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's in Rome in May 2004. That was the largest Mass I had ever attended, with well over 100,000 people present. It was awesome; certainly one of the highlights of my life. But today's Mass with Pope Benedict XVI was an equal highlight. It was an awesome experience to have our Holy Father, the Successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ, celebrating Mass for us, citizens of the United States of America, in our nation's capital, in our language!

Some of the highlights of the Mass were seeing the Holy Father singing the Lord's Prayer with us, in English. The unity of the moment gave me chills. Certainly watching him pray the Eucharistic Prayer and consecrating the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ was another tremendous highlight, as well as seeing him give Holy Communion to a section of the people. What a blessing for those who received Our Lord from His vicar! Holding my envelope of intentions from the Dallas pro-life community (and beyond) was also a very special moment for me during the Mass. Receiving the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, consecrated by the Hoy Father, the Vicar of Christ, at this Papal Mass was also a blessing of a lifetime. And most certainly, hearing Placido Domingo sing Panis Angelicus live after Communion, and then to see the precious exchange between him and the Holy Father afterwards, was priceless.

I held out my hands for the Papal Blessing at the end of the Mass, to receive it not only for myself but for all of you in Dallas. I literally felt the grace when he gave us his blessing - praise be to God.

Following Mass we made our way over to the aisle where he was processing out, and I was about 3 people deep so got a good glimpse of him as he walked past - another wonderful blessing!

The Mass ended just about 12 noon, and we were back to our hotel by 1:30. My husband Eddie needed to head back to Dallas this evening, and I had a chance to catch a little nap, as the days' events (especially following so closely after the Bishop's Dinner last week) have been a bit exhausting!

Tonight I attended a reception for the speakers of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in the morning. CPLC board members Theresa Martter and Marge Giangiulio were also there; it is at Theresa's invitation that I will be joining them at the HLI table at the breakfast.

I had a chance to visit with Joe Cella, president of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, whom I met at the first breakfast I attended in 2005; also Austin Ruse and his beautiful wife Cathy Cleaver Ruse; Debbie Tomlinson and Dr. Bob Moynihan from "Inside the Vatican" magazine (and Debbie told me they are still talking about how much they loved our Bishop's Dinner last week : )); and Fr. Steve Imbarrato, a totally on-fire pro-life priest of the Diocese of Albuquerque, NM, who is a good friend of Andrew's and is trying to build up pro-life activity in New Mexico with an eye to what we have been doing in Dallas. When introducing the speakers, Bill Saunders indicated that a record crowd of more than 2,000 will be attending the breakfast tomorrow. This has truly been a remarkable couple of days for the Catholic Church not only in America but particularly in Washington, DC!

Thank you for all your prayers - know that you are in mine as well as in my heart.

God bless you all.

In Christ, For Life,

Karen in DC
10 pm Eastern time

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