Pope Francis cruising by me tonight in Santa Cruz!
We had quite a thrill briefly seeing Pope Francis tonight! A big thank you to Ximena, Gaby and Ines for taking us along. We were not planning to go after watching the crowd reaction in La Paz earlier today, but when Gaby called, we decided to check it out. We drove over a few blocks to the Avenida Alemana (Germany Avenue) here in the north part of Santa Cruz to wait for him to come by. The pope landed at the Viru Viru airport and was escorted to a cardinal’s home where he will be spending the evening.
My blurry photo of the pope.
All Latin Americans I know are Catholic and so having the pope come to Bolivia has created a lot of excitement and anticipation in the city. It was kind of like seeing God, with his lighted pick up truck come by. We were probably 10 feet away from him and I could see him quite clearly. He looked healthy and vibrant, this despite spending the day at 3,500 meters in La Paz and a flight to Santa Cruz, and at 78 years old, it must be tough for him.
Earlier today I took the dog Lulu for a run down to where Pope Francis will be saying mass tomorrow morning. The security was out in force and they made the area near the big Christ statue look pretty good. People were sleeping on the street to get a good seat tomorrow. They were setting up big screens so if people are far from the altar, they can still see the mass. The altar was done in a style like the Jesuit missions here in eastern Santa Cruz department.
The city has caught Pope Francisco fever and it is fun to have his visit happen while we are here. I am reading a Wall Street e-book on his life and how he became pope and might post some more.