Claudia Seckinger: ‘I Truly Felt Like the Presence of the Holy Spirit Was with All of Us’
I think my papal experience truly started upon my initial arrival to campus this fall. This is my second year as a resident assistance, and during training this year, we were updated and given a brief idea of what the days leading up to the papal Mass would be like. Already, I was excited for how this would affect the University’s community, and also how it would affect me on an individual level.
Fast-forwarding to the Mass, I was fortunate to have received a ticket in Section D. This section was standing room only, and mostly comprised of students from CUA. I arrived at the line with a group of friends for the orange gate at about 11:45, and the line moved quite fast. During the Mass, I had the opportunity to stand next to the news tower, while having a perfect view of the entire altar where Pope Francis would celebrate the Mass.
Upon Pope Francis’s arrival, there was not a quiet soul in the crowd. At first, we all were following his path via the teleprompter. Then, as if a wave carried over section D, the roar of students and faculty alike was incredible. The sheer excitement of each person was heart-warming. To have a love for such a person, and to feel the impact he has on the Catholic following, for lack of a better word, is amazing.
For me, personally, I had a hard time preparing for the Pope’s arrival. The set-up, standards, and protocol that needed to be met somewhat distracted me during the days and hours leading up to Pope Francis’s arrival. I don’t think it truly reached me until I saw him for myself. The real impact hit when he began the Mass, uttering the first blessing. Pope Francis began the first blessing and once he spoke “and through the Holy Spirit,” my friends and I felt the rush of the wind consume the audience. It had been stagnant with only small gusts of wind earlier that day. I truly felt like the presence of the Holy Spirit was with all of us.
I think that the presence of the Holy Father is still affecting each and every person on this campus. To have been able to experience such an amazing opportunity, a man who has had such an influence on the Catholic following – especially the younger generations – is something I will really value. Thinking back now, the entire experience seems like a blink of an eye, and to be honest, unreal. The strength in his homily reminds me to “keep moving forward.” This past year has personally been difficult. I have been given some hard obstacles that have not been physically easy on me or my family. Pope Francis reminds all of us to joy in our lives, and keep moving forward.
– Claudia Seckinger is a junior at The Catholic University of America majoring in psychology.