Group from Kentucky travels to see the Pope
PHILADELPHIA, PA (WAVE) - They had to wait in long lines to go through metal detectors, find a good position by a rail on the route and then wait a few hours.
All to see Pope Francis in his Popemobile.
Even though the moment was brief, most said it was worth it.
"You see him on TV all the time. To see him in person was just amazing," said Angie Whitworth from Grayson County.
Whitworth is part of a group of 35 that traveled from Central Kentucky to be a part of history.
"It's rare to happen. You've got to embrace it when it happens, when the chance comes," Jacob Smith, 12, said.
Making it wasn't easy. The group's bus broke down on the way, but they made it to Philadelphia.
"It's really been good in the way the Lord's helped us," said Father Steve Hohman, who is with St. Paul and St. Elizabeth of Hungary parishes. "We found someone to fix it and found someone to loan us a bus for a couple of days, so that's awesome."
They arrived in time to see the Pope's motorcade travel through the streets of the City of Brotherly Love. Pope Francis arrived in Philly on Saturday morning and led a mass. In the afternoon he gave a moving speech on religious freedom and immigration at Independence Hall, then spoke about the importance of families at the evening celebration of the Festival of Families with performances by Aretha Franklin and Italian classical tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville has been with Pope Francis throughout his U.S. visit. He's serving as host in his role as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
He took part in a press conference on the Papal visit Saturday and spoke about traveling on the plane with the Pope.
"I was just about 6 feet from him and I watched him saying his prayers and I thought to myself, 'You must be exhausted,' when you think of all the crowds. But you wouldn't know it," Archbishop Kurtz said.
Archbishop Kurtz says during the Pope's visit he's witnessed the touching of the heart. After the Pope arrived in Philadelphia he stopped the motorcade when he saw a 10-year-old boy and got out of the car to kiss him.
Archbishop Kurtz said it reminds him of his call to serve.
"It's like going on retreat for me," Kurtz said. "By the way, I can't wait to get back to Louisville. I'm ready to go home."
Archbishop Kurtz won't have to wait for long. Sunday is the Pope's last day in the U.S. He will lead a mass in the afternoon, then by 8 p.m. he's on a plane returning to Rome.
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