Girl in iconic pope photo recalls moment

- Think about all the great moments we have seen over the years at the world's most famous arena -- Madison Square Garden. Pope John Paul II's visit is one of the garden's truly defining moments. That visit is a day that many will never forget, including some people from our area I recently had a chance to catch up with.


George Fehling was just 17 years old and a senior at Monsignor Ferrel High School on Staten Island when he was chosen to narrate "Youth in Concert," the title given to the pope's visit to Madison Square Garden in October 1979. George jumped the gun and introduced the pope a little earlier then he should have, but that just helped build the anticipation.

This was Pope John Paul II's first trip to America and only the second time a pope had visited the United States. And what an impact it had. Maybe the moment or image that best sums up his time during his stay: the iconic picture of his holiness holding the little 6 year old girl, Geralyn Smith, atop the Popemobile at the world most famous arena. Recently Geralyn recalled that day and that exact moment for Fox 5.

20,000-plus people, including the man that took that iconic picture that still resides in Madison Square Garden's Defining Moments exhibit. In a matter of days that picture literally went worldwide. And remember, this was 1979 -- years before the Internet and social media. It touched so many people including the pope who kept that picture on his desk until he died.

Fast forward to 1995 when the pope visited New York and said mass in Central Park. Geralyn was asked to be part of the procession that brought up the gifts. She and p Pope John Paul II met again.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent


FOX 7 News streams at the following times (all times Central):

Monday - Friday

4:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.


6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.


6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Schedule subject to change in the event of network sports coverage.

We also stream press conferences and other breaking news coverage from time to time. When we are not in a live newscast, you will see replays of the most recent broadcast.

To enter full screen Mode click the button.

For closed captioning, click on the button while in full screen mode.

Desktop/tablet users: To choose the stream's video quality, click on the button (while in full screen mode) and choose from 432p or 270p.

Mobile users:The video quality default is to your phone's settings.

Please allow time for buffering. If the stream stalls, refresh your browser. Thanks for watching

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories