My Experience

It was in the early morning hours on Wednesday, October. 3, 1979 when I began my pilgrimage to Des Moines, Iowa with a van full of friends from Western Nebraska. We arrived to our destination near Living History Farms later that day. Upon arrival, the weather was cloudy, overcast and somewhat cold. Some of us slept in the van that night.

The following day we hiked over to the location the Pope was to arrive. It was an area of rolling hills and some areas were fenced off. There was an alter at the top of a hill. There
were masses of people there. The atmosphere was serene and calm. Numerous individuals commented how peaceful it felt even with such a large gathering. We were in an area just off the side of the later maybe 50 yards or so away. It was not a bad location considering the number of people there.

The weather was still chilly, cloudy and overcast. There was a mild breeze. We were spread out on our blankets on the ground like so many others. I had ventured off to meet others who were there. I met a couple who had a monocular mounted on a tripod that had a good view to the alter. During our visit I inquired about coming back during the mass to take a picture of the Pope by holding my antique Argus camera next to the monocular simulating a telephoto lens. They obliged, and during the mass I returned to take my pictures through the make shift telephoto lens. I snapped a several pictures but for some reason only one picture came out. Keep in mind, this is an antique 35 mm camera with no automatic features. All of this camera's functions are manually set by the photographer. My skills were limited, but I was familiar with taking average pictures for that time.

Having that said, it was a rather small miracle the picture took as well as it did. I don’t no which miracle that day was more dramatic. Let me explain. There were over two hundred thousand people there at that location. There was a noticeable calm and serenity in the air which was observed by others. As I said, the weather was cloudy, gray and overcast with a breeze. We were there several hours before the Pope arrived along with many others.

They had a public address system on location. A short time after it was announced that the Pope had landed in Des Moines, the weather slowly started to change. Some of the clouds were breaking up and the sun would beam through the clouds. It was starting to warm slightly and the breeze was dying down. When the Pope was in route by helicopter to our location, the sky was clearing even more. By his arrival and during the mass the weather was sunny and nice. He said mass, gave his sermon and the large crowd received Holy Communion. He left by helicopter and our visit was over. It was time to return to our van and start our journey homeward.

Funny how the Lord works. Within fifteen minutes after the Pope left Living History Farms, the weather returned to being completely gray and overcast. The wind picked back up again. It became chilly as it had been since the day before. None of these small miracles appear real overt, but none the less, these events happened and I observed them.


PHOTO FOR PURCHASE - 50% of Revenues Help Needy Catholic Churches

I have the original picture that came out that day. Since that time over the years, I have lost the negative. With the advent of the internet I am offering a downloadable copy of this historic event of Pope John Paul saying mass at Living History Farms.

Two copies are available, the original and the other has been digitally photo enhanced to compensate for years of fading. I recall how much Pope John Paul II influenced my life and the world. We have created this web site to share this experience with others and to keep his memories alive.


Recently, Pope John Paul II has been beatified by Pope Benedict XVI. Many anxiously await his canonization. This web site has no influence regarding Pope John Paul’s canonization. We have no other pretense than to share this rare photograph and personal experience with others who share our Catholic faith and who loved Pope John Paul.

This is a private web site and does not claim a direct affiliation to the Roman Catholic Church. This website does claim that 50% of all revenues from the sale of these photographs will be donated to needy parishes throughout the United States.





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