Before this weekend, the largest gathering of people I had ever experienced was at the conclusion of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. I had covered the Opening Ceremony for The Sun, a colleague took the closing, and I headed to The Rocks, Sydney’s answer to Fells Point and Georgetown, where a cascade of fireworks that began at Olympic Park concluded some 12 miles east, at Sydney Harbour and its famous bridge and Opera House. There were at least million people there, and the Foster’s flowed pretty heavily as a nation with the population of Pennsylvania celebrated pulling off a safe, sound Olympics.
Here in Rome, people are intoxicated with the Holy Spirit. Journalists wait patiently in line for credentials and work in a makeshift media center in the Office of the Propagation of the Faith, where a life-size bronze crucifix stands next to the lunch counter.