GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As the pope continues his visit in the U.S., more South Mississippians are planning to see him during his time in America. We were at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport Thursday morning where a group gathered for a trip of a lifetime.
Excitement was in the air as these passengers prepared to see a man they've only seen and heard on television. A group of parishioners hailing from various Catholic parishes in the Biloxi Diocese and are thrilled to know they'll be seeing the pope for the first time this week.
"The bishop asked various parishes, all the parishes to sponsor those couples from there parish and my wife and I were selected from St. Elizabeth Seton to represent our parish. Father Sergio was behind that," said Martin Finnegan.
Finnegan and his wife Brenda of St. Elizabeth Seton in Ocean Springs have been planning a trip to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia for months. An event the Pope will be attending.
"We want to either touch his hand or get a blessing from Pope Francis and meet some very interesting people there," said Joyce Christian
Christian and her husband are members of St. James and St. Mary's churches. Joyce said the moment she learned the Pope would be coming to the US, she began making arrangements to see him.
"And we are just so excited. This is such a historical moment and time that we are able to be just in the crowd. Even if we don't get close to him, just to be in the crowd and feel his presence. Because he is so wonderful. The Pope is a blessing from God," said Joyce Christian.
St. Ann's Mission parishioners Jenny and Phillip Moseley have an action packed few days ahead of them before seeing the Pope.
"We're going to Philadelphia and we're going to tour the city on Friday. We're going to the Basilica and some cathedrals. Saturday we're going to go to the festival of families there," said Jenny Moseley.
This Saturday the group will take part in mass led by the Pope. The Pope travels to Philadelphia this weekend.