Memories of a Pope

Testimonial of Marie-Linda Boghdady

Testimonial of Isabel Correa

Testimonial of Brian McDonough


Comment by Dick Macklem | 2014-05-07

Brian McDonough's testimonial reminded me of my experience at Jarry Park. As a lector at Ascension of our Lord parish, I attended an audition to select the English language readers for the Jarry Park celebration, and to my great joy, was chosen. The job assigned to me was not that of Lector, but instead of Commentateur Anglais. That meant that I would be stationed high on the platform, next to the Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and other dignitaries participating in the Mass with His Holiness. The Commentateur Français was a professional radio and stage personality, and I was so proud of the English side that chose ordinary lectors from the archdiocese through a rigorous selection process. Prior to the arrival of the Pope, the two of us were virtually alone on the dais. We were called upon from time to time to announce to the gathering assembly the progress of the Pope's procession through the streets of Montreal. During the Mass at certain points we explained what was happening.

Finally, the Holy Father arrived with choirs singing and the immense crowd filling the air with song. The procession snaked its way in and slowly up the platform steps, the prelates, all in white and gold, each finding their places, and finally John Paul II himself, moving slowly with great dignity and piety to the altar, no more than ten or fifteen feet from where we were already seated. The two commentators were, I think, the only lay persons on the elevated altar with him and as the solemn ritual of the Mass proceeded I was completely emotionally overcome. We were very high up, about the height of a three storey building, and when I approached the microphone to make my announcements, the sight was overwhelming - a sea of people below me, as far as the eye could see - and my voice echoing back to me not once but three or four times, from every side. At the end, as he was departing, the Pope greeted us with such warmth, and then it was over. I was floating on the clouds of heaven and must have remained there for a week or so, because my wife said that I was useless for anything for all of that time!
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