More than 230 local parishioners head to see pope

April 16, 2008 4:33:03 PM PDT
Four busloads of people from Chicago and other parts of Illinois are in the nation's capitol, just hoping for the chance to catch a glimpse of the pontiff.It's a spiritual journey from the streets of Chicago, to Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.

"It's unexplainable. You feel this joy, this happiness because it's amazing. It's an amazing experience," said Jonathan Villanea, Chicago parishioner.

"I'm so happy that he decided to come tot he USA! I'm so happy, I'm thrilled!" said Raquel Mezzich, Chicago.

More than 230 parishioners from the Chicago area and Peoria held their signs high and lifted their voices, all proud to support Pope Benedict XVI. They call him Peter, after the church's first pope.

"It's very important for us Catholics to be here, to say 'Courage, Peter, we are the church, we are with you, we love you. We are just happy to be here," said Alex Velazquez, Chicago.

So they waited for a glimpse of the Pope. The group - which represents 12 parishes - lined an entire block. This was not a vacation for them; it's much more.

"For us, it's not a trip. It's what we call a pilgrimage, means a journey of faith. The journey itself is important. It's not only to get here, it's the whole journey," said Fr. Fabio Venturini.

"This was a really good time for me, I think it was the best time of my life to see him," said George Colque, Chicago.

"It was a good experience, it was nice, it was a good feeling," said Michelle Sanchez, Chicago.

"My heart was beating really fast. It was better than seeing a famous person. It was like, oh my God, they're here!' It was so exciting," said Mitxi Ortiz, Chicago.

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