A great moment in my life

Tuesday 3 January 2012

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by Pradeep Kumar Digal

I remember the day when I arrived at Palermo airport. I was met by two people at the airport and after introducing ourselves to each other we became very friendly within a short period of time. We started our journey towards the city. During the journey we had a lot of funny conversation. I asked one of my new friends that are working in CESIE, the host organization where I do my EVS, “How can I meet the Pope? Is it possible?”.

After two months one of these friends asked me “Are you free on 24th November?” Fortunately I was free on that day, because around that time I had my on-arrival training for ten days in Catania, Sicily. I told him; “Yes I am free on that day”, then he told me “There is a programme of Italian Caritas for a visit in Rome in presence of the Pope, and you have been invited to attend the programme!” I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited and often asked myself, is it true? Is it true? I felt very happy!!! I decided to inform my father to give him the good news. I informed my parents as well as all my friends about my forthcoming trip to Rome. It was one of my big dreams, as well my father’s. Before coming to Italy, my father used to encourage me to meet the Pope, as my father had dreamed to see the Pope himself and he wanted to fulfil his dream through me.

My dream came true. On 24th November, at 8 o’clock I arrived in Rome along with my other friends. We entered the Vatican City and it was amazing for me. Sometimes I couldn’t believe that I was in the Vatican! We entered the Cathedral to attend Mass. After entering the Cathedral, I felt totally lost to see such a wonderful and amazing place. I felt, I am in heaven! After the end of Mass I heard people saying, “Now the Pope will come,” then I pushed through the huge crowd, using all my physical and mental power to try and see the Pope up close and eventually I got to the front row. After a few minutes the Pope came and raised his sacred hands. I raised my hands too towards him. As he was leaving, he came closer to me. I called “Papa, Papa” and he looked at me for three seconds. I felt very happy because the Pope heard my voice and looked at me! I took many photographs of him.

From the Vatican I called my father and explained my exciting experience of the Pope and the Vatican. My father was very excited to hear my story and my village people and my church priest were also very happy for me. That day is a great day for me and for the history of my life.

I will always be grateful to Caritas Palermo for providing me this valuable opportunity to fulfil my big dream. And also special thanks to Mr. Salvo, Andrea, Roberta, Stefania, Vito, Dario and all the staff of CESIE for their great support to have that opportunity. Last but not least, I am greatly indebted to my parent and my family members for their good wishes for my every success.


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