Today, my Phillipina demographer friend and I went to the center city of Valencia. We have tickets to go to the Encounter with the Holy Father tonight, and we thought we’d do some sight-seeing during the day. Well, we couldn’t get near the Cathedral, where a cup reported to be the Holy Grail is kept. The streets were already filling with pilgrims waiting for the Pope’s arrival. The streets along the official parade were lined with police barriers, but no ordinary police barriers: they were yellow and white, the colors of the Vatican flag.
Families and groups of teens were lining the streets, waving the flags of their country, or papal flags and chanting "viva papa." We saw flags from Ireland, Angola and Australia, as well as Spanish flags of course. A few vendors were selling small flags saying, "Papa Benedetto XVI: Benevenuto Fra Noi." (English speakers might not realize this: but most Europeans follow the Italians in calling the Pope, "Papa," father.
We had a spot right up at the barriers. ਊs the Holy Father approached, the crowd pressed in closer. We were surrounded by a group from Angola, whom we recognized as participants in the lectures at the Meetings earlier in the week. They were dressed in identical blue and white traditional gowns. ਊs the Holy Father approached, my Phillipina friend and I became honorary Angolans, as we joined in their song, "Viva Papa."