National Catholic Reporter:

What did they come to see?
By Rita Larivee,  SSA

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These photographs, taken over the course of one day, attempt to capture the scene at Vatican City as Catholics throughout the world discern the meaning of these events. Between now and the election of the next pope, National Catholic Reporter will provide additional photographs as they become available.

As the crowd waited in line for hours to view John Paul II, many adults carried children on their shoulders. Families came together, including multi-generational members.

In some ways, it felt like Pentecost.  Whichever way one turned, a different language was being spoken. It was crowded, but time was of no matter.  Those who stood in line knew why they had come and knew the commitment they were making as they entered the procession.  Periodically, small groups would bust in to song praising the deceased pontiff.  People loaned each other binoculars and cameras.
And the flag bearers never stopped waving their flags.
As dusk approached, the line continued to move forward.  There are not many moments in life that compare to sunset at the Basilica of Saint Peter's among an international procession of great expectation.
  As we made our way to the piazza, banners aligned the path along the ground.  And near each were sanctuary candles lighting the surface so as to read the messages of farewell.
It was one of those rare moments when you really needed to be there to appreciate the dynamics taking place.
At one point, a small group prepared crackers for those waiting in line.  Obviously, unable to provide for the large numbers, it symbolized service and care for others.  A gesture of good will at best, but a reminder of the meaning behind the gathering of the day. 
NOTE:  This photograph presentation has been divided into multiple parts.  Click on the link to the right for more.
For more, click here.
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