Punch Bowl sophomore Daniel Loud and his team of faithful reporters has the story on this week’s fiercest band of Philadelphia zealots.
This past Sunday evening, Pope Francis boarded a plane from Philadelphia and returned to the Vatican in Rome after saying a beautiful mass at the World Gathering of Families on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Attendance at this mass was so overwhelming that thousands of people were never even able to enter. While many of them went home soon after the mass began, some intrepid pilgrims have yet to give up hope. Between Market Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, thousands of people are still crowded in the middle of the streets, waiting for entrance into the mass.
“I’ve been standing in the exact same spot for three days, and got separated from my wife and children two days ago when the line moved ahead,” reported Giovanni Santarelli, a Philadelphia native who proudly proclaimed that he would never ever give up on the pope.
“Jesus never gives up on any of us, so the least I can do in return is not give up on seeing Pope Francis,” he proclaimed over the ringing of his phone, which was undoubtedly his lost relatives trying to contact him.
Many people farther back in the group remain blissfully unaware of what even keeps the line moving forward now. Beyond the mass of signs and the singing of devout Catholics in languages they don’t understand, it’s near impossible to get a good sense of what’s really going on. Our reporters believe that people at the front have passed out from exhaustion and have completely stalled the line. However, when our reporters tried to get close enough to see they were cursed out in over 40 languages for cutting in line.
Residents and employees in nearby buildings have complained repeatedly that they have not been able to exit or enter their homes and offices for days, and have begged the worshippers to leave. These requests have generally been dismissed as temptations by the devil to keep the faithful from seeing the Holy Father.
“Satan is always at work, and he has sent this crowd to test my faith. I won’t give in to his temptations like so many of my brothers and sisters have,” explained Sister Mary O’Malley while repeating the rosary for the 856th time before she finally gets the chance to see the pope.