“I Walked and Francis Rode on By…” (PHOTOS)
My Wednesday started at 3:30 a.m. with a drive across Gaithersburg to St. John Neumann’s Church (SJN) in Montgomery Village. I was there for the parish’s 4 a.m. Mass for those who would travel to Washington, D.C. to see the “Papa” and await his parade around the Ellipse.
My roots to St. John’s go back to the start of this parish when masses were first held at Stedwick Elementary in Montgomery Village – a long time ago. My children were baptized there. My dad’s funeral mass was held there in 2011. My mom still belongs to St. John’s. It was she who informed me this past Sunday that SJN was having a “pilgrim” mass devotion at 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
So, after many years of wandering among the many other parishes that surround this part of Montgomery County, it only seemed fitting that I came back to St. John’s to join in – and take my camera along to see the “Papa.”
Following the Mass, I arrived at Shady Grove Metro at 5:45 a.m. and joined an MCM crew who was interviewing parade-bound Montgomery County residents boarding the Red Line.
Then, we boarded the train together to cover this beautiful and historic day.
As for Pope Francis, I bet he was getting up at 3:30 a.m. too. It would be a longer day for him.
Our paths crossed hours later, and only briefly, from about a distance of the length of two football fields. It was at the corner of 17th and Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C.
Pope Francis was standing in his popemobile and I was precariously balanced on top of an interior security barricade straining for a camera view with hundreds of people in between.
So it was for me, a glimpse, perhaps a once in a lifetime glimpse, under the same radiant September sun. Then, “Papa” rode on by – for more to see.
Follow me on Twitter: @Photoloaf.
— Phil Fabrizio (@Photoloaf) September 23, 2015