Excitement builds in WMass for arrival of Pope Francis in U.S.

Pope Francis isn't just the leader of the Catholic Church. He's also a world leader.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – This week, Pope Francis visits the United States! 22News spoke with parishioners from Western Massachusetts hoping to witness history.

Just one look at the tens of thousands of people chanting his name and you know why Pope Francis is lovingly called “The People’s Pope.” In Cuba Sunday, he passed through the crowds in an open Pope-mobile, connecting with the people, and showing he cares about each of them on this small island nation. At Sunday Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, the pontiff urged Cubans to not judge one another, but instead care for each other.

“He’s very personable, very charismatic, it’s a good time for somebody like that. We’re glad he’s here and we’re looking forward to his visit to America,” Our Lady of Mount Carmel parishioner Laura Cardaropoli told 22News.

From Cuba, Pope Francis travels to the United States on Tuesday, where hundreds of thousands of Americans, including many from Western Massachusetts, will welcome him first in Washington, DC, then New York and Philadelphia. 22News spoke with parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Springfield who are traveling by bus to Philadelphia next Sunday.

“It’s not that often that you have the pope coming here and like one of the greatest popes!” exclaimed Joyce Rosati, a parishioner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel who helped organize the Church’s bus trip to Philadelphia. She added, “Pope Francis. We all love him dearly and just to be able to see him, even if he’s only going to be an inch tall from where we’re going to be, it’s exciting to be that close in the presence of the pope is wonderful.”

Pope Francis isn’t just the leader of the Catholic Church. He’s also a world leader. We asked parishioners why they believe he’s loved by so many people who aren’t even Catholic.

“He appeals even beyond the constituency of the formal Church to a broader audience that shares values, values of what is human, and good, and right and concern for people who have real needs…”That’s encouraging,” said Sister Betty of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

It’s an historic trip for Pope Francis as he urges both Cuban President Raul Castro and President Barack Obama to continue strengthening ties between nations.

All week, 22News will be LIVE on the Pope’s journey in Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia.

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