Panama Day 8: Waiting to See the Pope

Lily, Ana, Miley, Manuel and his family — including Jon Paul, who wasn’t at the Sunday gathering at Minga’s — were in Panama City lining the route to see the Pope. He arrived a little after four, greeted the people at the airport, and then went in a motorcade along the route through the city. To his credit, he asked that the windows be left down so the people could see him. That meant the air conditioning was off. At a point about halfway to the Papal Nuciature, where he was staying, he got out of the car and stood in the Pope-mobile, also not air conditioned. The vehicle went by fairly quickly, which upset some of the people along the route who had been waiting for hours. But they explained on TV that the Pope is an elderly man, and that he was not yet accustomed to the heat, and that he needed to arrive safe and well after his 12 hour plane flight so he could rest in preparation for the many activities scheduled during his visit.

Gloria’s middle son Gabriel, age 26, is part of the Presidential protection detail, and Gabriel was at the Nunciature to protect the Pope there. I wish I had a pic of Gabriel in his commando outfit — quite intimidating, as indeed it’s intended to be.  Gloria said these young men have been read the riot act about the need for vigilance. Although the attempt on  Pope John Paul’s life was many years ago, no one has forgotten. The country of Panama is committed to giving the Pope a warm welcome, and to keeping him safe while he is in the country. I asked Gloria if by any chance Gabriel got to take a pic of the Pope, and she said “not hardly.” There was absolutely no break in protocol while the Pope was in their care.

Lily and the crowds waiting for el Papa Francisco.

Jon Paul, Lely, Manuel, Lily, and Hazel

In front, Lily and Ana. In back, Hazel, Jon Paul, and Manuel.

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