INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis family is getting a chance of a lifetime by traveling to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis.
The family of eight spent the last six months planning out the week-long trip and will make the 11-hour drive Saturday morning.
“There’s an application process and we wanted to apply early because we thought with Pope Francis coming people might respond very quickly and it might fill up,” said Ed Isakson.
The Isakson family is enjoying some time at home for now, but by Saturday evening they will be more than 500 miles away in Philadelphia.
“There’s an exhibit of Vatican art in Philadelphia that we’re going to see. We’re part of a project to make meals for 200,000 people that we’re doing as a family,” said Ed Isakson. “There are many opportunities for us as a family to express our faith.”
Ed Isakson, his wife Kim, and their six children: four boys and two girls between the ages of seven to 17 have been counting down the days.
“It’s very exciting to meet somebody who’s very holy and stuff like that,” said seven-year-old Gracie Isakson.
Some of their friends, also sharing their excitement for the big day.
“They’re very jealous that we get to go and they don’t,” said Janie Isakson, 11. “Some of them asked me to hide them in my suitcase.”
Aside from the packing, Kim said she has been talking to her kids about the trip and their faith.
“I’ve been talking to the children for a long time just about what this will mean to them and how will we clear our minds and open our hearts and be able to be present in the moment,” said Kim Isakson.
This trip to see Pope Francis brings back a lot of memories for the married couple.
Before starting a family, Ed and Kim got a chance to attend mass with Pope John Paul II in 1996.
Now almost two decades later, their six children will have their own memories of Pope Francis.
“He has been an amazing inspiration for us. His concern for the poor, his humility, his emphasis on God’s mercy and love has been very inspiring for us,” said Isakson.
The family did get tickets to attend mass with Pope Francis on Sunday, Sept. 27.
During their visit, they’re also planning to volunteer, meet up with local families from Indianapolis, and to explore historical landmarks in Philadelphia.