Those hoping to catch even a fleeting glimpse of Pope Francis began congregating outside the White House and along the National Mall Wednesday before the sun was even out, trudging through the last vestiges of inky darkness to secure the best possible spots from which to gaze upon His Holiness.
While crisscrossing the District, HOH happened upon religious figures aplenty. We spotted casually dressed priests hightailing to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
There were folks in colorful cassocks flocking to the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.
And, of course, the destined-to-go-viral nuns awaiting their own personal Super Bowl.
Nun's tailgating for the Pope is the greatest thing I will ever see pic.twitter.com/huAt62uakn— Huey Mack (@HueyMack) September 23, 2015
While plenty of people seemed content to suffer intolerable lines in order to participate in the liturgical celebrations, others chose to commune in more earthly accommodations.
John Andrade, founder of Brookland Pint, told HOH he rather unexpectedly zoomed into work from his home in Arlington, Va., in just under half an hour — a comparatively lightning-fast commute (congrats on circumventing the downtown traffic!) which allowed him plenty of time to prop open the doors to his neighborhood establishment bright and early. The bar, which operates in the shadow of the Basilica and The Catholic University of America, got things going at 7 a.m. in the hopes of capturing as much papal traffic as possible.
When we first arrived, only a handful of people had bellied up to the bar.
Within an hour, the crowd had multiplied, with a number of papal partiers draining snifters of Devil's Milk-this and pints of Resurrection-that.
There were CUA alumni not quite sure what to make of everything.
"How long has this been here?” a young woman pressed staff, noting, “I went to Catholic. I think I was mugged five times around here. "
At least one academic sounded like he was very much enjoying the mid-week reprieve. "I'm just a lowly department chair," a bespectacled gent toting around "My Life with the Saints" and "Beyond Discipline" — while nursing religious-themed brews — alerted a chatty seatmate.
Nattily dressed retirees, apprehensive at first, quickly hatched plans to return. “Perhaps I’ll come back and do some real damage later,” a silver-haired reveler told the bartender after fleshing out a plan to lay off the heavy stuff before attending services.
Others dove right in, sampling a slate full of event-centric offerings.
The featured “No Pope, 'Til Brookland” was rock solid. The golden brew started hoppy, delivered a citrus kick and then mellowed over time.
Founders Brewing Co.’s Blushing Monk was even more heavenly. Pleasantly fizzy with some residual dryness, this fruit-forward pour proved very refreshing.
As the seats filled up, everyone simply had to stop newly minted server Ashley Williams and compliment her on her timely T-shirt. She told HOH she scored the bright blue conversation starter — emblazoned with words “I Got 99 Problems But the Pope Ain’t One — at neighboring Forman Mills.
"I knew I had to work today, so," she said of the savvy accessorizing.
When in Rome…
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