I, the most sarcastic of ex-catholics, had to be talked into this by my daughter, who I raised with no religious education at all.
His progress through the crowd was rather stop-and -go because the driver was apparently under standing orders to "break for babies." Any kid that could be lifted by the security detail was offered up to the Pontiff. A kiss, a smile and back the babies went, the same baby but blessed forever by a really cool guy.
We got the feeling the Pope would have liked to put those little ones in his tiny jeep and give them a joy ride through the crowd, all of them laughing. But only if he could drive.
I was tempted to offer up my 16-year-old, but I can't life her anymore. For years I had warned her about advances and kisses from strangers and there I was ready to hand her over to this elderly man with the most pleasant face on earth. I was also startled to find that I listen to his sermon on reconciliation and later even acted on it, obeying the Pope for the first time in, say, 45 years.
That day I was also confused by my cheery enthusiasm, my yelling along with the crowd, my rubbernecking to get the best glimpse of the Pope, my tip-toe-excitement at seeing him in person.
When I bought his up to my daughter she said, with a practiced cynical eye, at least when it come to her mother, "Mob violence." Indeed.
My daughter and I now consider Pope Frances a "good friend," "our" Pope, as it were. And with his visit to the US, I have been tickled by the secret service and the NY Times commenting on the Pope's instance on kissing babies and how that's a security nightmare. Too cute.