"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Mr. Frank Sinatra, an amiable young singer of popular songs, is inspiring extraordinary personal devotion on the part of many thousands of young people, and particularly young girls between the ages of, say, twelve and eighteen. The adulation bestowed upon him is similar to that lavished upon Colonel Lindbergh fifteen years ago, Rudolph Valentino a few years earlier, or Admiral Dewey, the hero of Manila Bay, at the turn of the century…
One difficulty was that multitudes of the admirers of "The Voice" as Mr. Sinatra is popularly called, refused to leave after having seen one complete performance in a non-stop programme which went on every day from nine in the morning until after midnight. Of 3,500 spectators only about 250 left at the end of the first performance. One young woman is known to have sat through 56 consecutive performances, which means about eight consecutive days. Some of the youngsters faint with hunger and fatigue after sitting six or eight hours without food, but still refuse to leave until they are bodily removed by the attendants.
Sinatra's fans are overwhelmingly young women. Their versions of the effect he has on them are, on the whole, more daintily phrased than the callous judgments of the psychologists.
"I shiver all the way up and down my spine when you sing, just like I did when I had scarlet fever."
"After the fourth time I fell out of a chair and bumped my head, so I decided to sit on the floor in the beginning when I listen to you."
"I love you so bad it hurts. Do you think I should see a doctor?"
A radio station conducted a "Why I Like Frank Sinatra" contest. Among the fifteen hundred essays submitted was one that read:
"I think he is one of the greatest things that ever happened to Teen Age America. We were the kids that never got much attention, but he's made us feel like we're something. He has given us understanding. Something we need. Most adults think we don't need any consideration. We're really human and Frank realizes that. He gives us sincerity in return for our faithfulness."
"I love you, Papa!" screamed a hoarse male voice, while nearby, another young woman collapsed onto a friend's shoulder weeping and shouting, "There's the Pope!"
Miguel Garcia, 14, from California, blasted off three long hoots on a red plastic trumpet -- not something he'll do when the Popemobile rolls past the nearby chain-link fence, he said.
"He's been shot twice, so we won't do it then. . . . But I'm happy, I'm so happy. I might even cry."
…The buzzing descent of the helicopter shortly after 3:30 p.m. snapped everyone to attention. Soon great hordes raced back and forth across the pavement, the slightest suggestion of a papal sighting enough to trigger a stampede.
Finally, the Pope began his slow journey to the main stage, riding in the Popemobile down a long corridor marked by chain-link fences, the crowd pressed dozens deep on either side.
Some waved crosses or flags, while others chanted fervently "John Paul II, we love you! John Paul II, we love you!"
Pat Hain from Delaware, in her late 40s, leaned against the wire long after the procession had moved on, quivering with emotion.
"He's our shepherd, he's our great shepherd. . . . This is the greatest experience I've ever had."
Robyn Ferguson, 18, from Ottawa, was one of the many pilgrims who perched on a friend's shoulders, snapping photographs from less than three metres away.
"It was really enlightening to be able to see him. Wow! Wow!"
As the Pope finally began to speak, the masses grew silent, some clustered around radios and others intently watching the video screens that were peppered throughout the site, cheering whenever he paused. Many in the crowd wept openly.
Emmanuel Arches, 33, a Filipino who works in New Jersey, wore a hip plaid hat and a wooden cross flung nonchalantly over his shoulders. But as the Pope's words rolled over the crowd, he pressed palms together and wiped tears from his eyes.
"When you see him, you cannot help but pray, pray for myself, pray for my loved ones, pray for him also. . . . It's the closest I can be to God."
Goosebumps broke out spontaneously up Jennifer O'Connell's arms as she recalled her first glimpse of the Pope, back in 1984 while he was boating in Ottawa.
"I swear, he looked right at me and smiled, full of love. . . . Seeing him, I get goosebumps. Today, I'm going to cry tears of joy and happiness."
Gloria Puruntatame, 25, patted her stomach -- three months pregnant, but she hasn't felt a kick or cramp since she began her journey from northern Australia to see the Pope.
"Since I travelled, I haven't felt anything . . . no pain, none at all. I pray to him . . . and he protects my baby."
Even as some pilgrims swooned with excitement, others were dropping from heat exhaustion, dehydration, allergic reactions and other maladies.
Captain Rob Bygrave, on patrol with a cart full of water bottles for the Toronto Fire Services, said not many people needed medical assistance until after the Pope arrived.
"It's going nuts -- we've got hundreds of people lined up at the hospital," he said. "A lot of the kids wanted front-row seats and they wouldn't leave them for food, they wouldn't leave them for water."
In that moment of recognition as the Popemobile passed through Exhibition Place, they laughed or wept or bowed their heads in prayer. Some fell into each another's arms.
"Papa John is in the house," a young voice cried out.
While many shrieked with delight, others sat silently, a rosary in one hand and a tissue in the other to wipe away tears.
…Nicolas Pappalardo, who's from Toronto and works for World Youth Day, thanked the Pope. "You are a compass when we need guidance. You are our luminous beacon of hope in a world of darkness."
…Peter Richards, from Halifax, broke down in tears when the Popemobile passed a few metres in front of him. "I'm just so overcome with the power of his presence," he explained.
…Pawel Zuchniewicz, a Polish journalist, recalls meeting John Paul at World Youth Day in Denver in 1993. "He was very robust. I remember his grip, which was very strong, and I was weeping like a small child."
I went to the Vatican expecting a solemn affair. It felt more like a rowdy World Cup soccer crowd. Mexican and Russian delegations held up national flags as they waited for His Holiness. Other groups waved matching colored scarves. The Americans were most boisterous. A group of about 200 college students chanted and clapped in unison as they unfurled a large spray-painted banner. "John Paul Two, we love you!" they cried, hoping to lure the Pope out on stage.
I was five feet from the center aisle, where in moments, one of the world's most influential people would walk by. I just wanted one good photo. As the time grew closer, people began shoving – Pope hooligans.
…I was busy protecting my own vantage point. There was a shove from behind, and as I stumbled off my chair, I watched another man's video camera crash down. I had seen tamer crowds at Pearl Jam concerts.
Finally, the Pope entered. Everyone gasped. Just as I snapped my photo, a rugby match broke out, in which the guy behind me attempted to get closer to God by flinging himself over the crowd to fondle the Pope's robe. The Pope, a man who usually radiates inner peace, looked perturbed as his follower tried to grope him. -- Dave Fox, "Don't Grope the Pope"