September 23, 2015
by Katelyn Becker
WASHINGTON-Pope Francis drew a diverse and lively crowd during his parade down Constitution Avenue on Wednesday. Although the audience only caught a quick glimpse of the white cloak, they traveled from across the country to see the pope drive down the street in his pope-mobile.
The crowd was buzzing with excitement and chanting. Men, women and children tightly packed the edge of the silver fences lined with policemen.
Kent Linton, high school senior, traveled to D.C. from Indianapolis. Linton attends Guerin Catholic High School. He said he flew to the east coast to see the pope with his friend, his principal and the school’s chaplain. Linton was standing in the crowd waiting for the parade to start while straddling his backpack and traveling bag between his feet. He said the people next to him were chanting Pope Francisco! Linton was excited for the pope to arrive and said, “the fact that he came to the U.S. shows his caring capacity and expanding influence.” Regarding the momentous day he said, “Am I really feeling this right now? It’s surreal.”
Brother Solanus Joseph traveled from Boston to see the head of the Catholic Church. Joseph was wearing a long brown rope, and he was bald with a long beard. Joseph said he was a brother of the Franciscan order after a recent conversion. As he waited for the papal parade to start on the mall he said, “I hope to get many blessings.” Joseph said he was hoping that Pope Francis would address issues about families and same sex marriage on his visit to D.C. Joseph was eager to see the pope this week and said, “I want to get to know Pope Francis and love him.”
Not all people at the parade were in support of Pope Francis. Jessica Lamb, who labeled herself as “a follower of Christ,” was standing on the lawn with a large poster. The poster had Obama and Pope Francis’ pictures adorned with devil horns. She said, “I am here to protest the Pope and Obama.” Lamb said she was angry with the Pope for allowing same-sex marriage and abortion. (Check out some of Pope Francis’ views on social issues!) Her goal she said was to “save some souls of people who are destroyed by a lack of knowledge.” After talking with her, three security guards asked her and her group of protestors to exit the premises. One of the security guards said, “She was not contributing to the joy of the event.”
As Pope Francis drove down the street, people screamed with excitement. There was a sea of phones and cameras in the air as Francis traveled down the street waving at the American people.
Julia Nabarro of Maryland was wearing a blue and white Argentina jersey on the mall after seeing Francis. She said her parents are from Argentina and today meant a lot to them because of the pope’s background. Regarding Pope Francis she said, “It shows a great representation of the culture. I love that he represents a more touchy feely culture.” Nabarro said she was only disappointed that he did not speak Spanish. Even so, after going to a 4am mass in Maryland and waiting on the mall for the parade she said, “It was definitely worth standing for hours.” After seeing the pope she said, “I love that whatever belief people have, that everyone’s here to support.”
James Marker was a police officer that stood at the gates and faced the crowd along Constitution Avenue. He said that there were a couple of protestors but most people were enjoying the day. He was watching the crowd so he was unable to see the pope come down the street. Regarding the papal visit to D.C. specifically he said, “People always get a negative vibe with all the politics around here, but it was good to have someone uplifting come.”
Marie Serianni came on a pilgrimage from the diocese in Miami. Serianni took a 21-hour bus ride to come see Pope Francis in our nation’s capital. She came with a group from the churches in her area. Serianni said she wanted to see Pope Francis because “from the minute I saw Pope Francis I knew he was something special.” After seeing an article in her Catholic newspaper, she called the number in the article to make arrangements. After seeing the pope she said, “I feel so blessed, I really do.”
See the rest of Pope Francis’ agenda for his D.C. visit!