In Dublin, the rejection of the pope was the reckoning of a people

Thousands gathered at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square at the Stand4Truth rally Aug. 26, organized by clergy sex abuse survivor and activist Colm O'Gorman. The procession ended at Ireland's last Magdalene Laundry, which closed in 1996. (NCR photo/Jamie Manson)

Dublin, Ireland — It started with a procession. I was walking through the Royal Dublin Society venue on the first day of the World Meeting of Families, looking everywhere for the media center so I could pick up my press credentials.

A woman who was a bit too dour to be working the welcome desk at this persistently cheerful event directed me to another building outside the exhibition hall. Staring down at Google maps on my phone to help get my bearings, I suddenly realized I was walking straight into a parked van.

Just before impact, I looked up and found myself eye to eye with Mother Angelica. I reeled back. EWTN had painted her image on the back of their satellite truck. What little I could remember of the dour lady's directions was shocked from my memory.

I spotted one of the young, green-vested volunteers ahead, and ran toward him in the hope he could set me back on course. Then came my next near collision, this time with longest liturgical procession I've ever witnessed.

It began with dozens of altar servers. To my surprise, a number them were young women. But the brief female presence quickly gave way to a parade of patriarchs, walking two-by-two, purple zucchettos atop their heads.

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