On Friday, Sept. 25, two charter buses left the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau bound for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 105 pilgrims on board hoped for a chance to see Pope Francis, attend the Papal Mass and receive Communion at the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, but there was no guarantee that these hopes would be fulfilled. It was a journey of faith. Our contingent included a 4-year-old boy, seniors old enough to be his great-great grandparents, and every age in between!
We traveled for two long days to get into Pennsylvania. On Sunday morning, the day of the Mass, we left our hotel at 5:45 a.m. and traveled two hours into Philadelphia, where the waiting began: two hours in line to get through security, another three hours for our chance to see the Pope pass by before Mass. There were plenty of opportunities for complaints, but few were heard. Our spirits were strong and the sense of anticipation for whatever might come was amazing. This was a pilgrimage!