Calling Rome

The day Pope John Paul the Second had a brutal attempt against his life in St. Peter Square, the day Ali Agqa shot him, I was working as an intern in a newspaper in Bilbao. The boss choose me to help the more seasoned journalists working in the information about the attempt.

My assignment that evening was obtain statements from the bishops of the Basque Country. I began to make calls and soon I learned that Bilbao’s bishop wasn’t in the city. He was precisely in Rome, at the Spanish College.

I began to make calls to Rome. All the lines were blocked because everybody was trying to talk with the Vatican City and get news about the Pope. So there was no way to get the connection. The lines were always busy.

My coworkers told me to don’t get too disappointed if I won’t get the statement of the bishop. But I was determined. No busy line would stop me. With the help of one assistant I insisted, and insisted and after two hours we get it.

Finally I was talking with the bishop. I asked him for his statement about the attempt against the Pope and after I asked him if he had some fresh news about his situation. For sure. He began to tell me valuable information first hand that we hadn’t received yet via news agencies or our correspondent.

So my piece , which was going to be an aside column, become the central piece of the page.


Author: Olga Brajnović

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