Tulsa Catholics Excited For Chance To Meet Pope

Wednesday, September 23rd 2015, 11:44 pm
By: News On 6

Wednesday, Pope Francis took to the streets surrounding the White House in his Jeep Wrangler; but he didn't just sit inside the protective bubble, he also stopped several times to greet and kiss children along the way.

The Pontiff also celebrated an outdoor mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - about 25,000 people were part of it.

9/23/2015 Related Story: President Obama Welcomes Pope Francis To The White House

Here in Tulsa, more than 40 Catholics boarded a bus for the long journey to Philadelphia where the Pope will be Saturday.

They all agreed it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Marcus Martinez is 12 years old and traveled all the way from San Antonio. His grandparents picked him up last weekend, and Wednesday the three got ready to head to Philadelphia.

"If I do this I'll have something to brag about. And mostly because it will be a big step in my faith and religion," Martinez said.

His grandfather, Edmundo, is a deacon for a church in Owasso and hopes the trip will instill a certain message in Marcus.

"”To respect everybody and love everybody; that is what I want my grandchildren to know," he said.

Marcus said, "We are very close, and I know this is going to be a lot for him because he is more rooted to the religious faith more than anyone I’ve known in my entire life."

Edmundo has plenty of reading material for the more than 20-hour journey. As for Marcus, he might have a harder time containing his excitement.

"I am very nervous, and if I get to touch him, I'll probably pop and blow up," he said.

The group is made up of people from all across eastern Oklahoma. The itinerary includes visits to historic churches and the papal mass on Sunday.

Lily Bell is also 12, and is making the trip with four of her family members.

"I would just love for him to bless me and pray for me, it would just be awesome," she said.

Catholic diocese of Tulsa, Timothy Putnam said, "For these kids, faith is something that is important for them, and everything gets viewed through lens of faith. So, when an opportunity like this comes along, you take it."

After the Sunday mass the group plans to get right back on the bus and take the long journey home.

It’s a lot to fit into just a couple days, but they said it’s an opportunity they just couldn't pass up.