Travel

Philadelphia: World Meeting of Families, Page 1 (Sep 2015)

A pilgrim reflects on his journey through photographs...

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All buses carrying pilgrims had to park at the AT&T Sports Complex in South Philly (Philadelphia), where the Phillies Baseball Stadium is located.

Pilgrims rode SEPTA (underground) from the AT&T to the Walnut-Locust station.

Upon exiting the Walnut-Locust station, pilgrims are greeted with banners on the street welcoming Pope Francis and quotations from him, such as "We all have the duty to do good." But what is good? Surely it is the imitation of Christ.

 

Before the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in dowtown Philly served as the cathedral of the Pennsylvania, Delaware and part of New Jersey areas in the early 19th century.

All who wanted to be within the vicinty of the pope had to go through strict inspection, through metal detection and manual inspection of belongings. It took almost an hour to get through the inspection and 4 hours more of waiting to finally have a glimpse of Christ's vicar.

Spectators awaiting the pope to pass by along the Franklin Parkway lined with various security forces -- FBI, state police, even NYPD. In the background is Philadelphia's landmark, City Hall.

Above, watching Pope Francis on a jumbotron along the Franklin Parkway, as he speaks at Independence Hall. "A people which remembers does not repeat errors..." This does not only refer to remembering the immediate past but history in its totality, including the obscured past long ago that have influenced the evolution of society to its present state, good and bad. "Catching up" with progress based on a narrow view of history is merely catching up with history repeating itself.

The pope passes through the Franklin Parkway, waving to the crowd after his speech at Independence Hall.

Pope Francis passes by a second time in the opposite direction, towards the auditorium where the Festival of Families program is held.

Mark Wahlberg, Hollywood actor and practicing Catholic Christian, hosts the Festival night's program attended by the pope at the auditorium along the Franklin parkway. Aretha Franklin also performed for the pope that night.

Real families in varying situations that could serve as models are presented to the pope.

While getting back on the SEPTA, one notices the approved advertisers of the Meeting, like The American Bible Society, an ecumenical organization. Rick Warren, author of "A Purpose Driven Life" and pastor of a non-Catholic but Christian church was a speaker at the closing session of the week-long meeting.

Thousands of pilgrims, many of them journeying with their families, return to their respective buses at the end of Saturday, 9/26.

While sleeping in a school gym in nearby Gloucester City, NJ, pilgrims abstain from the comforts of life to ponder on what truly matters...

That night the moon was full, and shone brightly as if lighting the way of the pilgrim... :-)

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