DENVER -- At least 200 hundred Catholics from the Denver will travel to Philadelphia next week to see Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Families, and before they leave, a group from St. Thomas More Catholic Church got a special sendoff on Saturday night.
Monsignor Tom Fryar blessed a group of parishioners and led a prayer for a safe pilgrimage to Philadelphia, where they plan to worship with the pope next week.
"I think a lot of people love Pope Francis for his humbleness, his good nature, his love," said Jo Holt, who will travel with a group of 74 people, including her husband and three children.
“I'm very excited because it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," 11-year-old Anna Holt said.
For others, it's more like twice in a lifetime.
“Back in 1993, we had the honor of being able to attend several of Saint John Paul II visit to the United States for World Youth Day (in Denver)” Deacon Alan Rastrelli said.
Even though this visit is much farther from home, the group will have access to all three of the pope's events at the World Meeting of Families.
"We're planning to sleep less, pack a lot of snacks, get there early in hopes that maybe we can get a good viewing of him," Jo Holt said.
Regardless of the vantage point, Fryar said the journey will be the biggest thrill.
“We're not going on a tourist adventure, we're going on a pilgrimage. It's a faith journey to come together with other people of faith from around the world,” Fryar said. “Whenever the pope travels, it changes people's lives.”