|St. Peter's Basilica as seen from St. Angelo Bridge|
If the pope is meant to be the direct successor of Jesus, those are terribly big shoes to fill. But Pope Francis, by leading with actions instead of grandiosity, is quickly winning me over. Months ago, a group of young Belgian students had asked for a private audience with him so they can meet him and ask him their questions. The Vatican responded positively, and these young people got to sit with and have a conversation with the Pope. It was rad. This week, at the invitation of the Pope, the leaders of Israel and Palestine will meet in Vatican to pray for peace. It is a miracle that both polarized parties agreed to it.
After the prayers were over, we started to walk back towards Rome. I felt light. There was not a cloud in the sky, everyone in the crowd was smiling. There was a large group of young Italian children doing a passionate chant-off (they're little Italians, after all). They were giving it all they've got even though they know their voices will not carry one mile away. "Pa-pa Fran-cesco! Pa-pa Fran-cesco! Pa-pa Fran-cesco" over and over. My little heart chanted with them.