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Papal blessing for Clarkston couple

Newlyweds Alyssa and David Pohl visited the Vatican and received a blessing from Pope Francis. Photo provided (click for larger version)
August 06, 2014 - Clarkston graduate Alyssa Vermeulen and her new husband David Pohl's marriage was charmed from the start. From a viral video to a blessing by Pope Francis himself, their journey has already been graced with fortune.

At a Metro Detroit Airport Gate, the memorable journey commenced. Just days earlier, on May 31, the couple were married at St. Hugo of the Hills Chapel, a Catholic Church in Bloomfield Hills.

On June 2, David and Alyssa were in the Detroit Metro Airport terminal getting ready to board a Delta flight, when they discovered they were among a group of 12 passengers set to travel on the same flight headed east to Paris.

All 12 passengers were World War II veterans headed to Normandy, France, to commemorate D-Day, the June 6, 1944, day when the great allied forces, including America, stormed French beaches.

Aware of the special guests on the plane, a Delta airline stewardess began to honor the bunch.

"Oh say can you see," the stewardess began to sing for the group who had done the world a great deed over 70 years ago.

Passengers joined in on the serenade, their eyes filling with tears as they lent their voices to sing America's National Anthem and pay homage to the veterans.

Realizing how special the moment was, Alyssa's grabbed her phone and recorded the rendition. Alyssa uploaded the video to YouTube, and quickly it went viral. Her video now has over 270,000 views.

The video is so popular it has been seen worldwide and was even featured on news programs across the country, including local news stations and national outlets like The Today Show.

That experience alone is great story for the couple to tell forever, but after the flight an even greater journey was coming for Alyssa and David. The pair continued on their way heading off for their Honeymoon to Rome, Italy, where they would soon meet Pope Francis.

On June 11, Alyssa and David stood among other newlywed couples at the Vatican in Rome, a separate state containing the headquarters of the Catholic Church, eagerly awaiting the Pope's blessing.

"The Pope reserves special seating for newlyweds to receive his Papal Blessing," smiled Alyssa's proud mother as she told the story.

The couple waited in St. Peter's Square for Pope Francis to arrive and greet the glowing couples. With a touch of his hand, the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church greeted each couple individually.

Each pair were also presented a rosary, a string crafted of beads, also called a crown of roses, a religious piece said to help ease the flow of prayer.

Photos captured the couples special moments. In one of them, David and Alyssa smile, as Pope Francis embraces David's arm while granting his blessing. In another photo, a glowing Alyssa lays her hand gently across the Pope's back as the two speak.

As the rest of their journey begins, the couple have chosen a career helping others in the medical field. Alyssa has chosen a path in pediatrics and David in family medicine.

Alyssa is a 2006 graduate of Clarkston High School, and Dave is a 2006 graduate of Brother Rice. Both graduated from Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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