WASHINGTON, D.C. — "I felt as I was a little kid waiting for Christmas," Patricia Selzer said.
The 18-year-old Huntersville native describes the day she attended her first papal Mass.
She is one of three graduates from Christ the King High School's first class who are now freshmen at The Catholic University of America. Selzer, Kaitlyn Miller and Craig Mundy were in attendance at the Sept. 23 Mass with Pope Francis at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
"The whole atmosphere of the day was one of happiness and excitement," Selzer told the Catholic News Herald. "When the Holy Father finally arrived, so many people were crying, screaming and smiling. It was an honor to witness his holiness and truly a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime experience – something I will never forget."
For her it was most moving just to witness Pope Francis' holiness, humbleness and compassion, Selzer said.
"I stood so close to him, which was very exciting. Just seeing Pope Francis made me look at life a little differently."
She and her friends lined up at 9 a.m. for the Mass that did not start until 4 p.m., so they were able to get a good spot near the gate.
"He drove right past us. It was super awesome, and I was trying not to cry. Luckily, I didn't," she said.
"It was a surreal and a beautiful experience. Pope Francis exudes so much holiness and compassion. He shows mercy and forgiveness and his love and care for others is evident. It was a blessing to be in his presence."
— Kimberly Bender, Catholic News Herald. Photos and video provided by Patricia Selzer.