Instead of watching infomercials or “Judge Judy” when I went to the gym this afternoon, I decided to watch the pope’s visit to New York on CNN.
While I walked on the treadmill for 18 minutes, burning 103 calories, I watched 57,000 Americans sing along to “The Kyrie” and “The Gloria” before Pope Benedict XVI. And that was just part of the endless opening act. The German-born pope then went on with his opening statement, greeting all “ze people of ze United States.”
The venue for Sunday’s Roman Catholic Mass? Yankee Stadium.
I don’t consider myself religious. I believe in something – I just can’t define what it is. Religion is a very private thing in Europe, especially in Scandinavia. We don’t flaunt our believes, and we don’t try to convert anyone.
Watching the Sunday Mass was purely for educational purposes, for the news value. When the pope is in town, all other news stops existing in the United States.
It is said Pope Benedict is a music lover, particularly a fan of Mozart. Music is easy to understand – in any language. Watching and listening to the fenced-in choir at the stadium as the singers belted out harmonies of “Gloria,” I was actually touched.
The choir members must be so honored to be there today, singing in front of the the person they consider to be closest to God. It was apparent that several bishops and priests in the audience were touched as well. I can’t even begin to understand the full meaning of this visit to them.
All of a sudden, a news anchor from CNN cuts in to explain what is going on.
“We are just watching Pope Benedict’s Sunday Mass at Yankee Stadium here in New York. The choir is singing ‘The Gloria’ and the pope is getting ready for his opening remarks. Let’s watch some more.”
The voiceover is finished, the music fades back in. And so it will go on until 6 p.m. today, through the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Holy Communion.
The pope will return to Rome at 8 p.m. tonight, after a five-day visit to the United States. Then the world can go back to normal.