Franciscan University Students Reflect on Pilgrimage to Philadelphia

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April 29 2021 08:00 pm

Students at Franciscan University were busy getting settled into their dorms and ready for classes to start after, returning from the ‘World Meeting of Families’ in Philadelphia Monday morning.

“His love and his humility, and his joy was just outstanding,” That is how Franciscan University senior, Ned Hesser, described seeing and hearing the message delivered by his Holiness Sunday. The students loaded up around midnight Saturday into Sunday and hit the road arriving in Philadelphia around 8 Sunday morning.

Hannah Crites, a junior at Franciscan said, “It was absolutely surreal, it was really challenging, though. I mean a lot, a lot of just walking, we walked over 10 miles, I think,” and she’d walk another 10 miles or more, she said, to do it all again and experience the vibrant and loving atmosphere she said they experienced during the event.

“Everybody was pressing to the barricades trying to get communion, so it was really cool seeing that parallel and it was really inspiring too, because it was just a reminder of why we were there,” said Crites. While everyone was pressed to the barricades trying to get as close as they could to the Pope, Crites captured some video on her cell phone, as he drove by in a parade and crowd could be heard screaming as he passed by.

Meanwhile Crites’ friend and classmate, Ned Hesser, wasn’t far; snapping some pictures, from 1sq. ft. spot he secured early in the morning, near the barricades, “I stayed there and I did not move, because I did not want to lose it, because that was as close as I was going to be able to get to the Holy Father and then I stayed there for hours until he eventually drove by and it was only a couple of seconds, but getting to see him and be that close to him was unlike anything else, I could ever describe,” said Hesser.

Hesser added his most memorable part of the trip is something the Pope has said since the beginning of his Pontificate and reiterated it during his closing remarks during Mass Sunday, “It was one of the first things he said when he went out and was in front of St. Peter’s Square; was please pray for me, he actually bowed his head and asked to world to bless him, so he could bless the world.”

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