Tulsa Flight Crew Blessed By Pope On Way To Vatican

Monday, October 5th 2015, 6:30 pm
By: News On 6

Many Americans were sad to see Pope Francis leave the United States a week ago; but for a Tulsa flight crew, taking the Pope back home to the Vatican was the highlight of their careers.

A group of five Tulsans were on the flight crew that helped get the Pope safely back home to Rome. While it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all involved, one man said it was close to his heart.

How many people can say they've met the leader of the Catholic Church?

American Airlines technician Doug Mages did last week - when he needed prayer the most.

"I got there, set the rosaries down, he grabbed my hand, and everything I had thought of, everything I had practiced, had been gone," he said.

Mages' father recently suffered a stroke, then, his sister was hurt in a car accident.

He shared this with Pope Francis as each member of the flight crew was invited to sit down with the Pope one at a time.

In response, the Pope blessed the rosaries Mages had brought with him.

"I just felt, I just felt honored to have the opportunity to meet the Pope, get the opportunity to have rosaries blessed for my family," he said.

Captain Gary Beam was in the cockpit for most of the flight but slipped away to have his rosaries blessed as well.

Beam said Pope Francis felt like family.

"I felt like I was transporting my grandfather, I mean, I was that comfortable with the situation," he said.

Mages said, "I wanted to have the opportunity to speak to him on why it meant to me, and why it meant so much to my family."

The airline said it hopes to have a special plaque made commemorating the Shepherd One, for the time Pope Francis was on board.