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Milanka Lachman's own reflection on her meeting with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI:
"I feel so blessed and honored to have met His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI! When I found out for certain I would be meeting Pope Benedict, I was both moved and humbled. Before I was even in his presence I kept on creating the scene of the meeting in my head. As the day approached, I began to think about what I wanted to tell the Holy Father.
On October 26, 2011 I was escorted to Vatican City to attend the weekly Papal Audience. In typical Italian fashion we first stopped for espresso, which did not do much to calm my nerves, before we arrived at the Vatican. We drove slowly through the large mob of people, comprised of many pilgrims, tourists, and guards, before entering a specialized gate. The Papal Audience took place in the Audience Hall and it was a blessing in itself to just be invited to hear His Holiness speak. After the Audience, myself and approximately 20 other people were taken into a receiving room where we were then able to meet and speak with His Holiness one on one. At this time, certain peace came over me and I was filled with joy.
As I knelt in front of him and kissed the ring, I was fully aware that this moment is one of the greatest events of my life. While he smiled and held my hands, with both of his hands, I spoke to him with smile tattooed on my face. I gave him a short recap of my mission and of all the wonderful 206 Tours pilgrimages I mentioned all the wonderful holy shrines and places where our pilgrimages go. I assured him that I and 206 Tours pilgrims were praying for him, and I asked him to keep me and our pilgrims in his prayers. He told me that he would. Looking back, I am surprised that I was never rushed along or asked what I would say to him; instead I was allowed to relish the moment and have my own individual experience with the Holy Father. It will always be good to know that our beloved pilgrims and we at 206 Tours will be in the Pope’s prayers!
I was escorted by Javier Gomez, who is in charge of 206 Tours ground operations. I’m glad and grateful that he was there.
In the past I have met celebrities and people of high importance, but they all pale in comparison to my meeting with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. There are simply no words to describe how special this event was to me! In everyone’s life there are memories you will cherish and hold onto forever. To me, my marriage, the birth of my children, and meeting the Pope are the most poignant moments that I hold closest to my heart. I thank God for the opportunity I was given, and I know I will be forever changed by it."
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