Chances of touching the Papal outfit during the general audience, especially in the winter, when he met with the faithful in the hall, were quite large. The most important was to come very, very early, take a place right next to the middle and not move from there for nothing in the world – well, bring with you some gift. Karol Wojtyła could not pass by those who wanted to give him something, even if that was just a drawing done by toddlers. There was another way to force the Pope to stop by – he could not say no to children who asked him to write down a note to their prayer book. There were days when meetings with the faithful in the audience hall were going forever.
Over time, I have learned about two more possibilities to meet the Pope. One was automatically out of my reach – it’s a private audience that presidents of states, important politicians and other VIPs of all kinds had a chance to attend. The second one was to get an invitation for the morning Holy Mass. The Holy Masses celebrated in the private chapel were surrounded with a legend. Everyone in Rome knew that they were taking place and that the Pope actually invites a narrow group of people to participate in it. But, no one could tell you who the lucky ones are. Roman priests had conversations about the private Masses only with a whisper. In the Eucharist, on a daily basis the Pope had to ask God for miracles.
Andreas English: “Healer. Miracles of Saint John Paul II”
WAM Publishing House. Jesuit Fathers. Kraków 2015