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Pope Francis: Journey to Paso del Norte – A Self Reflection

Let’s start with a full disclosure so there’s no confusion: I’m Catholic.

I was raised Catholic and I was educated at two Catholic schools – Loretto Academy for pre-school; and St. Pius X Catholic School from the first through the eighth grades. In high school the cost of a private education was too much.

So, it was my parents’ decision that I attend a public school for my four years of High School.

It was scary at first – not knowing anyone and making new friends – but in all honesty I think it was the best decision they ever made – in fact, it was in high school that my yearbook advisor opened my eyes to this career. And besides, my Catholic education continued through the Catholic Church, as I sought to get confirmed.

I also have a godmother/aunt who was and still is my guide to the Catholic teachings of the church – and whenever I stray or don’t attend Church for a while she reminds me – or does it without even saying anything.

In all honesty, if this were a confession booth, I’d confess that I haven’t been to church for oh…longer than I’d like to admit, and there are times that I’ve come to question my faith.

Wednesday was not one of those times.

12751708_834623779997382_2040717246_oI went into the mass as a journalist, but as soon as Pope Francis spoke, I became an active participant.

I did my best to take photos and work – but his presence just feet away from me was at times too much. I found myself repeating the prayers and saying them along with everyone.

When we were asked to say, “peace be with you” – or shake hands with a stranger as a sign of peace – I was happy to find that another fellow journalist offered his.

And then came the moments of prayer – I cried.

I would like to say it was the lack of sleep I had the night before in anticipation for the day’s historical event; the blazing heat of the sun; and the pain in my feet and legs from all the walking, running and standing that I had done all day – but it wasn’t.

The tears only came when the Holy Father spoke; they came when he delivered the homily – and they came when he said his farewells.

And as I remember it now – I can feel my eyes getting watery.

In journalism you are taught to be unbiased and not let your voice get in the story – there are exceptions of course (like this one) – but that’s the idea.

So, as a journalist, I stopped wearing anything that would indicate I was Catholic – because some folks take offense to that or may feel uncomfortable. And it’s okay – I understand.

But on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 – a day I will never forget – I let my guard down, listened intently to the Pope and let God in – if only for a moment. It was all He needed – any uncertainties that I had became clear.

As a journalist I feel privileged and very lucky to have been part of this global experience. And it was in fact global – journalists who spoke Italian and French were there; reporters from Los Angeles, New York and all across the country gathered here to document this.

And I was there among them – reporting, participating and sending up some prayers of my own.

By Alexandra Hinojosa, El Paso Herald Post Contributor

About Alexandra Hinojosa

“Once journalism is in your system, it’s hard to get it out… and then you realize, it’s there to stay.” – Alex Hinojosa is a full time instructor at El Paso Community College and a former El Paso Times journalist. FULL BIO

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