South Mississippians plan visit to see Pope Francis

South Mississippians plan visit to see Pope Francis

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Pope Francis held the first-ever televised "virtual audience" on Monday with Americans in three cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, and McAllen, Texas.

He listened to their stories and shared his message with students, immigrants, and hundreds of others in attendance.

Next month, the Pope will make his first trip to the United States.

Chris Spears is among the two-million planning to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia. He attends St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach and received a scholarship to help with his trip. Not only will he hear a message from the Pope in person, Spears is going to the World Meeting of Families.

"I think that opportunity along with seeing the Pope and celebrating his support of family in the modern world is an excellent kind of one-two punch," said Spears.

Also making the trip to Philadelphia in late September will be Pass Christian resident Lisa Starita and her family.

"As Catholics we're part of this universal church," said Starita. "I think that would be a great lesson for my family to see the universal church there excited about seeing Pope Francis, excited about the World Meeting of Families."

Starita hopes for the Pope's message to make a great impact on her life.

"I think I'll feel a little overwhelmed," said Starita. "I think that Pope Francis represents he's so much about love and bringing Jesus Christ's love to everyone not just Catholics. I think that I'll feel that overwhelming sense of love for humanity that Pope Francis has."

Both Starita and Spears would like to see the Papal visit help spread that loving attitude across America.

"I think his goal with the World Meeting of Families is to point out that immigration, homelessness and poverty are things that we can do in our Long Beach community, not just elsewhere in the world," said Spears. "We need to take the steps we can to alleviate those where we find them."

Pope Francis is expected to travel to Washington D.C., New York City and Philadelphia from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27.

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