GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds met Pope Francis as he arrived for his first-ever trip to the United States. It's the start of a jam-packed six-day day, three city visit for the Pope. And some South Mississippians said they weren't going to miss seeing his first trip.
Pope Francis arrived in the United States landing at Andrews Air Force Base in the papal jet where the President and First Lady greeted him on the tarmac.
Catholics from South Mississippi are making pilgrimages this week to see the Pontiff in Washington and Philadelphia. We caught up with Chris and Kate Spear at the airport Tuesday morning. The two are parishioners at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity to see perhaps the most visible church leader in the world. And hear what he and the speakers have to say," Kate said.
They have been planning on this week's "World Meeting of Families" for years, so you can imagine their excitement when Pope Francis announced he would be attending the four-day conference in Philly.
This is the first time both of them will see a pope in person.
"I think the world spotlight is on Philadelphia this week, not only with Pope Francis, but with the world conference. Especially in today's culture, there's a lot of discussion on what constitutes a family, and I think the pope, and the conference, will have a lot to say on the Catholic Church's perspective, and how we can grow as solid citizens in the global community," said Chris.
Vicar General to the bishop Dominick Fullam will join Bishop Roger Morin of the Dioceses of Biloxi in Washington D.C. Fullam said the visit by the Holy Father is special for Catholics as well as all Christians.
"There are three events that we would like to attend. The first is to see the Holy Father with the bishops together at the cathedral in Washington D.C. And he's also going to do a canonization of Father Junipero Serra, the priest who founded the California missions. And then he's going to address Congress. So if we can make it to all those events we hope to do so," said Fullam.
During the pope's time here in the US he will meet with the President, address Congress, speak at the United Nations in New York and take part in a Vatican conference on families in Philadelphia.