Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul II and the Surprise Visit to Yellowknife

 Posted by Hello

Pope John Paul II died today. As it is appropriate for the living to share stories of those who have left this world for the next, I offer you this anecdote:

In 1984, Pope John Paul II’s plane was supposed to land in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. The presence of fog forced the crew to land the plane for a quick fuel stop in Bede's hometown, Yellowknife. Bede was in 10th grade at the time, and when news broke that the Pope was actually coming to Yellowknife, he and the others were dismissed from class immediately. He pedaled fast on his bike to reach the airport. There, he met up with other family members who had managed to arrive in time for the Pope's surprise visit.

The Pope gave a speech in the terminal, and then greeted the line of people as he walked toward his plane. Bede's niece, Rose, who was five at the time, was so thrilled that she broke out of the line and ran to the end so that she could meet him again. That evening, on the local news, the family watched the footage of Rose tugging on John Paul II’s robe, calling, “Poke, Poke!” When he leaned over to Rose, she said, “Poke, we pray for you every day!” The Pope patted Rose on the head and blessed her.

This story has had a number of incarnations in the family, depending upon who is narrating. In on version, Rose calls the Pope, “Hoe-wie Fadder.” In another, she specifies that her family says three Hail Marys for the Pope every day.

How will you tell this story?

No comments: