Francis in Paraguay, María Esther Duarte, Ciudad del Este •
At the same moment the Pope arrived in Paraguay, my children, Miguel, Enrique, Ester, and I arrived at the airport in Asunción beginning a series of many unforgettable and emotional moments.
Greetings and glances
As we traveled through the streets and before we knew it, we had arrived in front of the Youth Shrine, where we parked. We walked to the roped off area, where the Holy Father would pass (in the Popemobile) on his way to the Apostolic Nunciature. Once we were in place, we could see the Pope approaching, greeting us, and at that moment, we exchanged glances that would remain with us forever.
On Saturday at 2:30 p.m., we stood at the access in Ñu Guasú, and we waited until 6:00 p.m. for the gates to open, and while waiting, we sang, recited prayers, and prayed rosaries.
Once the gates were opened, we began to walk through the mud for approximately two kilometers, and we arrived at section B2 at 7:00 p.m., where we remained; the vigil began accompanied by songs, musical groups and prayers; it ended Sunday at 7:00 a.m.
Holy Mass and an emotional sendoff
The greatly desired moment approached with the Pope’s arrival at 9:30 a.m., greeting the people from the Popemobile, and the multitude welcomed him by singing the visit’s official hymn, Gracias Santo Padre, [Thank You Holy Father], then the long awaited Mass began.
Our Sunday ended with the Holy Father’s blessing, and then we experienced the sendoff at the airport. We remained until his plane flew out of sight. Finally we wept with sorrow, and we laughed with joy because we had the blessing of experiencing this moment in being a part of the history of Pope Francis’ trip to Paraguay with the hope that he will visit us again very soon.