April 16: US Bishops arrive to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, ready to capture the experience!
Pope Benedict XVI waves to crowds assembled both at the Shrine and CUA Campus. Average wait was 6-8 hours!
Pope Benedict's joy and warmth was constant throughout his apostolic visit.
Pope Benedict thanks and embraces the crowd after we sang him Happy Birthday.
A blessing in thanksgiving to the gathered crowds.
Msgr. Rossi and Archbishop Wuerl escort the Pope up the stairs to tour the Shrine, pray Vespers and address the US Bishops.
After his time ended at the Shrine, the Holy Father still finds cheering crowds outside almost 2 hours later.
Me and Steven after the crowds have gone, with my welcome sign.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at dusk after the papal visit.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at night after the papal visit.
April 17: A maximum capacity of 47,000 people begin to assemble for the Papal Mass (of the the Holy Spirit) at the brand new Nationals Stadium.
Me and Tom, feeling very excited and privileged to have seats on the field.
Even the sisters stand on their chairs to catch a glimps of the Popemobile, greeting the Holy Father entering the Stadium and waving their Vatican Flags and cameras. The rest of us try to catch a view from the screen.
The Processional Cross from the Shrine enters the Stadium.
The Holy Father thanks and embraces the endlessly cheering crowds
The Holy Father shares one of his many, affectionate smiles.
Holy Father addressing those of us assembled.
The Holy Father delivering his homily.
The Holy Father pauses for silent prayer.
The Holy Father incenses the Altar (designed by CUA students).
The Holy Father reads the Eucharistic Prayers.
The Holy Father elevates the Chalice after the prayers of Consecration.
The Holy Father embraces the thank you and farewell cheers of the crowds.
The Holy Father imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all assembled and blesses our religious articles brought for that purpose.
The Holy Father prepares to leave the Stadium.
The Holy Father reaches out to seminarians nearby clamoring to get close to him.
The Holy Father processes out the Stadium.
Pope Benedict (with Archbishop Wuerl) parade through CUA campus one last time after meeting with presidents of Catholic universiites in America, the evening after the Papal Mass.
I have to believe this smile was for me and my last sign that read "Thank you Holy Father!".
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception decorated with emormous banners to welcome the Pope.
Even the flowers welcomed the Holy Father, exhibiting the Vatican's colors of yellow and white.