PHILADELPHIA PA. (WWLP) – Pope Francis is spending his last night in the United States Saturday night after a day full of celebrations in Philadelphia.
It has been an exciting day for the city of Philadelphia, the first time since 1979 a Pope landed here to celebrate love and families in a historic way.
Pope Francis landed at Philadelphia airport at 9:30 Saturday morning and by 10:30 was celebrating mass at the mother church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
As he made his first stop, thousands of people secured a spot at Independence Hall, home of the Liberty Bell and where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed and adopted.
There he spoke about immigration and religious freedom.
His message resonated with Northampton’s Martin Jones who traveled to Philly just to be in His presence. Jones said, “This Pope is special, he’s the first Pope from the Americas, a native speaker of Spanish, very progressive on a lot of issues, he appears to be taking the church forward to the 21st century.”
Lots of people from western Massachusetts were in the crowds and overcome by his power.
Garret Smith of Wilbraham told 22News, “The city is just very much alive, it’s almost magical. I feel the city and the people of Philadelphia are really embracing the Pope in a very big way and it’s just so great to see the city on fire with this much energy and enthusiasm.”
Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski has traveled along with the Pope this week and witnessed the response he’s generated from people of all faiths.
Bishop Rozanski said, “He’s just an amazing person who exudes what the gospel is all about and I think we’re all finding that out in his visit to the United States.”
Bishop Rozanski will have another visit with Pope Francis at 9:30 in the morning.
The city ended the day with a large outdoor festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the same place Pope Francis will celebrate his huge outdoor mass on Sunday, drawing hundreds of thousands of people.