Sister of Mercy Roberta Rodenhouse, pastoral associate at St. Anne Church in Rochester, said she returned from Mass at Washington’s Nationals Stadium April 17 with the pope’s message of hope for the future.
She shared that positive message with parishioners at weekend Mass at St. Anne, which is in the process of clustering with Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Brighton.
“The (Nationals Stadium) Mass for me was the most wonderful of all the things we did,” said Sister Rodenhouse, whose seat was on the third-base line. “I came back with a real sense of hope.”
She said she was very impressed with many of the simple gestures of the pope, such as how he stood to acknowledge famed tenor Placido Domingo after he sang “Panis Angelicus” during Communion. The tenor, in turn, knelt down and kissed the pope’s ring.
“These two prominent men were so humble,” Sister Rodenhouse remarked.
At the beginning of Mass, when the pope processed out of the dugout, Secret Service agents attempted to keep the crowd from impeding his way. Yet the pope stopped the procession to briefly pick up an infant that a woman held up to him, Sister Rodenhouse said.
The exchange was just one of many instances where the thousands of faithful warmly welcomed him, she said.
“I think he has a much better picture of the church in the U.S.,” Sister Rodenhouse said.
People throughout Washington also extended a welcome to the pilgrims, she said. Her group also toured Arlington National Cemetery and the World War II Memorial.
“Everywhere we went, everyone wanted to know how it was (to see the pope),” she said.