Triangle folks talk about excitement of seeing Pope Francis in person

Photos from the Cardinal Gibbons High School group who visited Philadelphia

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — Hundreds of people from North Carolina made the hike to Philly to catch a glimpse of the pope.

WNCN spoke to several people tonight from Raleigh about their experience and why Pope Francis is so unique.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Philadelphia in hopes of seeing the pope.

WNCN spoke to Billy Atwell, the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Raleigh, about what it was like to be there.

“Everyone screaming and yelling, ‘Pappa Francisco!’ and things like that. It was just, the energy was unreal and the experience was second to none,” Atwell said.

“One of the children, he came up and blessed them like right in front of us,” said Michael Hils, a junior at Cardinal Gibbons High School.

It was an experience of a lifetime for more than 350 people from the Triangle. Not only did they get a close view of Pope Francis, they heard his moving message about family.

“How can I improve my relationship with my family? How can I speak to my wife with greater love and tenderness?” thought Atwell after hearing the message.

“The idea of family is very simple and fundamental so it’s easy to relate to,” said Hils.

Pope Francis spoke on a number of issues during his visit to the U.S., touching those in the crowd and here at home with his calls to action.

“He’s telling us what we need to hear, and doing what we need to be doing. He takes care of the lesser and the more unfortunates and he calls upon us to do what we’re charged to do as Christians,” said Jerry Maule, who followed the Pope’s visit closely.

Those WNCN spoke to say Americans are so excited about Pope Francis because he cuts across many traditional boundaries with his messages of love, peace and compassion for everyone.

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