I’m a fully indoctrinated Philadelphian: when the Papal visit was announced, I immediately thought of the horrible mess we’d see-a city shut down, traffic headaches beyond any engineer’s nightmare, and a huge mess afterwards. Each dollop of new information (and misinformation) didn’t help much, either, from the SEPTA ticket fiasco to the predictions of NO FOOD UNLESS YOU HOARD NOW! Like most people, I planned to get out of Dodge and wait out the lunacy at the beach.

I’m glad I didn’t. I went into town on Saturday, quite early, and spent the entire day walking around, both inside the fenced area and outside. It was a surreal experience. The streets without traffic were a surprising delight, and one that I’ll likely never experience again (at least without a major snowstorm). The Ben Franklin bridge became the world’s greatest walkway.

It was no less amazing meeting people from all over the world who were both exceptionally nice and really, really thrilled to be here. I spent time with a church group from Pittsburgh, a contingent of pilgrims from Texas, and wound up having lunch with a fellow and his girlfriend from Ecuador.

Of course, I brought one of my cameras along. Some of the pictures are here, many shot during the Mass at the Basilica.

And when in Rome…

Best wishes,
Jim Shulman