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Sept. 21, 2015
The journey begins

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National shrine

Sept. 22, 2015
God's help
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Sept. 23, 2015
Despite huge crowd,
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Sept. 25, 2015
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placeholder September 21, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Papal Visit • September 21, 2015

Tourists walk past statue of Blessed Junipero Serra on Capitol Hill
Tourists walk past a statue of Blessed Junipero Serra in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington Sept. 21. Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass of canonization for Blessed Junipero Serra Sept. 23 outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
Joshua Roberts/cns

The journey begins

Very Rev. George Mockel

I have been invited to come to the East Coast to participate in some of the events surrounding the visit of Pope Francis to our country.

I arrived in Washington from SFO this afternoon (Sept. 21). Even on the airplane there were tidbits of conversations among the passengers about the coming papal visit.

The gentleman in the seat in front of me was reading “The Wall Street Journal," not unusual for an early Monday morning flight to DC. But what was unusual was the banner across the front page with Pope Francis’ picture and an eight page insert on the upcoming papal visit. Yes that was in “The Wall Street Journal!"

And of course there were all the unusual and peculiar incidents that I have grown accustomed to whenever I travel. The gentleman sitting next to me on the flight from SFO to Denver’s last name was "Priest." The man sitting next to me on the flight from Denver to Washington’s last name was "Bishop." I began to imagine how many more flights until I was sitting next to the "Pope!"

(Father Mockel is vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland and pastor at Santa Maria Parish in Orinda.)

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