We had taken the bus to Candlestick Park from Santa Rosa, and had to be there an hour before the Pope arrived. Since the Pope’s 1986 visit to the City by the Bay was ‘post May 13th 1981’ security was ever present
Nonetheless when John Paul came through the tunnel waving from the popemobile suddenly the place got smaller and we were all family. You could almost sense the angelic detail that escorted this loving, smiling ‘father’ as if to say ‘he is special’ we want you to love him too.
Michael Pritchard whose son I ended up teaching at Marin Catholic and whose bellowing laughter I often heard at St. Vincent’s home for boys in Marinwood as Fr. Daly (now Bishop Daly of San Jose) opened up his Sunday homily with a humorous anecdote, was the family smile; the chosen mc.
For the millions of faithful who ended up seeing him face to face as he traveled throughout the world, we few 70,000 still felt like we were held in his heart like family.
Little did I know that the girl from the ‘young adult group’ on the bus that I sat next to on the on the way to the ‘sermon on the mound’ was to become my bride three years later, and after almost 30 years, four kids and two grand kids later, that I would be producing the (current) Archbishop’s radio hour and taking reports from Rome at the canonization weekend of John Paul the Great!