Midstate pilgrims attend Papal mass in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WHTM) – Hundreds of faithful Midstaters made the pilgrimage to the papal Mass is Philadelphia.

Sunday before sunrise, Midstaters boarded buses. Two hours later, they arrived in Philadelphia.

One of the people on the bus, Yvonne Whisenant, caught our attention because of her enthusiasm.

“Oh, I’m psyched. I’m just so psyched just to see this pope,” she said. “Even if I get a glimpse of him, I’ll be happy.”

ABC 27 News set out with Whisenant and her friends. They hopped right on the subway, then walked several blocks. The atmosphere was electrifying. People were cheering and dancing in the streets. People were gracious, thanking first responders and trash collectors alike.

Whisenant stopped to watch the big screen as Pope Francis addressed bishops. The reality of seeing the pontiff set in.

“I’ve just been a faithful Catholic since I was a little girl,” Whisenant said. “I always just had a very spiritual connection, and this is like the ultimate dream.”

People flocked to the Mass site. State troopers did, too.

“Kudos out to Philadelphia. I’m impressed with the coordination,” Whisenant said. “Everything went so smooth.”

Until she was separated from her friends. Whisenant spent hours trying to find them.

“Yeah I did. They said they still won’t do it. There were other groups that did the same things,” said Whisenant. “We have to go back to the 19th Street line.”

Whisenant stood in that line for hours, meeting people from all over the world. She also dealt with protesters.

At times, she enjoyed a parade-like atmosphere, as church groups walked by playing instruments, singing, and waving flags.

After getting through security, more walking, and some sweet talking, Whisenant reunited with her friends.

“I just told them that we got separated and we were from the news crew and they asked to see their badges, and thank God they didn’t ask for mine,” Whisenant said.

There was still time to kill before Mass began. Whisenant passed time with a crossword puzzle.

Finally, the Pope’s motorcade approached. Whisenant snapped a once-in-a-lifetime picture.

“I feel blessed with this picture,” she said.

She relished every moment of Mass and took communion; all of it an emotional experience.

“One I’ll keep in my hear forever,” she said.

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