Saturday, 2:15 PM
From the Road: The singing girls of St. Ann's Parish
Globe reporter Tania deLuzuriaga is embedded with a busload of about 40 pilgrims who left Boston early this morning to attend this afternoon's papal Mass at Yankee Stadium. Here's her first dispatch:
HEADING SOUTHWEST ON I-84 -- Some are dozing, others are reading, and the girls from St. Ann parish in Dorchester are singing along with the Von Trapp family “Doe -- a deer, a female deer…” as "The Sound of Music" plays aboard our bus headed for the Bronx.
Two buses chartered by the Catholic Foundation left Boston College High School at 6:30 this morning, loaded down with weary travelers and seemingly enough food to feed most of Yankee Stadium. Before departing, the Rev. Thomas S. Foley, the pastor at St. Ann’s, led the group in a prayer for a safe journey. “May it be a wonderful experience in faith,” he said. Foley, who did not make the trip, left the bus with a shout of “Vive el Papa!”
A congenial atmosphere took root as soon as we boarded the bus, with strangers swapping stories and sharing snacks. The girls from St. Ann’s, many of whom spent the night together at a sleepover, are a bit sleep-deprived and giddy about their big day, which may explain why they spontaneously broke out in the song, “Our God is an Awesome God” complete with the corresponding sign language, about a half-hour into the trip.
“I slept five hours last night,” said Rae-Anna Muise, 13, of Dorchester, who was lying across two seats flipping through a Seventeen magazine with her friend Michelle Olson, 14, sitting on top of her.
While the girls' giggles and singing dominate the back of the bus, it’s much quieter up front where most people are dozing or reading. Clara Garcia has been knitting most of the trip. The 60-year-old Guatemalan immigrant said she’s excited about the prospect of her first papal Mass.
“I didn’t think I had any chance of getting tickets,” said Garcia, who attends St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Jamaica Plain.
But while the mood on the bus is somewhat subdued, many expect that to change once we arrive.
“I think once we get there it’s going to be a different thing,” Garcia said. “I think I’ll feel something very heavy inside that’s going to make me a better person.”
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