PHILADELPHIA (MEDIA GENERAL) – As Pope Francis’ nonstop journey across North America comes to an end on Sunday, followers are doubling down on their determination to take the pontiff’s message to heart.
Outside of a Catholic Church in downtown Philadelphia, several followers expressed their desire to apply the message of love, support, and kindness to their daily lives.
“His lasting impression is family and love, and I think he’s really exudes that,” said Stella Volpe, a professor from the Philadelphia area who spent hours waiting in lines, security checkpoints, and traffic in order to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis.
On Sunday morning, Pope Francis addressed the ongoing crisis of sex abuse claims which gripped dioceses across the United States in the last decade. Before an audience of several thousand, Francis promised to hold the guilty accountable and apologized for the pain countless victims continue to suffer from. Francis is scheduled to return to Rome early morning Monday after flying nonstop from Philadelphia on an American Airlines 777.
On the streets of downtown Philadelphia, vendors were seen Sunday afternoon beginning to pack up remaining unsold Francis souvenirs. The massive security operation, which some complained made traveling through town too difficult, remained in effect throughout most of Sunday.