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Florida Catholic OF Miami E Edition - Page MI-2


Florida Catholic September 2015




Florida Catholic correspondent

MIAMI When South Florida realtor Isabel Nuez heard of Pope Francis' upcoming U.S. visit for the World Meeting of Families in Phila- delphia, she phoned a travel agent who had helped her plan a previous trip. Nuez, a member of St. Ann Mis- sion near Homestead, said she has never been to a papal event, and the same is true for many of the immi- grant families who are members of St. Ann Mission. As soon as we heard that he was coming we started to get this going," said Nuez, adding that the plan is for some 90 members of the mission to take a low-cost, no frills trip to see Pope Francis. They will be traveling on two buses and staying in motels 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. St. Ann Mission has histori- cally served the farmworker and Mexican-American community of southern Miami-Dade County. As such, it is probably one of the south- ernmost parishes making a pilgrim- age to Philadelphia. A lot of our people are excited. We are going to work our schedules around Pope Francis, so we want to be there early and wait for him, to see him in the plaza (Benjamin Franklin Parkway)," said Nuez. She is also exploring the pos- sibility of taking the parishioners to Pope Francis' meeting with His- panics and immigrants outside In- dependence Hall, if that becomes possible. Some of the finer details of the papal itinerary in the U.S. are still being announced, and this being Pope Francis there might be a few surprises. His six-day visit, Sept. 22-27, will begin in Washington, D.C., continue in New York City and conclude in Philadelphia, which is hosting the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families. Before he lands in the U.S., Pope Francis will visit Cuba for three days, Sept. 19-22. Hundreds of Catholics from the Archdiocese of Miami are traveling in archdiocese-organized pilgrim- ages to stops along Pope Francis' route. Two archdiocesan groups and Archbishop Thomas Wenski will join the pope for the Mass in Ha- vana Sept. 20; another group will see him in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23 and 24; and a fourth group will take part in the closing festivities of the World Meeting of Families the weekend of Sept. 26 and 27 in Phila- delphia. Several local parishes and enti- ties such as St. Ann's have planned their own pilgrimages to see Pope Francis, whose Sept. 26-27 agenda in Philadelphia will include two big public events on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The pope will at- tend the closing ceremonies of the World Meeting of Families Saturday night and celebrate the closing Mass Sunday afternoon. At the closing festival, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, he is expected to listen to performances from Andrea Bocelli, Juanes, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Both events are free and do not require tickets, according to organizers. The pope also will have more private encounters with Pennsyl- vania's bishops, priests, men and women religious at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, and is expected to visit with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. The pilgrims from St. Ann Mis- sion will be accompanied by their pastor, Father Jesus Alberto Bo- horquez, who is of Colombian de- scent but was born in Buenos Aires, the same Argentinian city where Pope Francis lived and served as Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio. When I heard the news about Pope Francis' (election) I celebrat- ed like it was a soccer game. I got my Argentina flag out," Father Bo- horquez said. He added that in 2013 he ar- ranged for St. Ann's young people to watch the World Youth Day events from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on tele- vision. Next year, 28 youths from the parish will travel to World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. Those traveling to Philadelphia are mostly adult parishioners, and have made considerable sacrifices to join the trip. They also under- stand that there is no guarantee they will get close to Pope Francis. This is such a historical event that as long as we know the pope will be in Philadelphia we will be there. We will help make the state- ment to the whole nation that Cath- olics stand with the pope," Father Bohorquez said. The pilgrimage planning pro- cess has revealed the importance of Pope Francis in the life of Mexican people, the priest added. "They have a special love for the papacy." The St. Ann group created their own pilgrimage T-shirt for the oc- casion, which displays the St. Ann Mission logo and which reads, in Spanish, "One Family in Christ, One Family of Christ." Afterwards, the group plans to go see some of the historic sites in Washington, D.C., before returning to Florida. Joining the group will be a retired priest from the Archdio- cese of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who assists at St. Ann's, and several reli- gious women from the Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit. Nuez said she is prepared for the difficulties and uncertainties of the experience and for navigat- ing the hundreds of thousands of visitors who will be on hand for the events in Philadelphia. I know it might be crazy, and that we will have to walk with a multitude of people," she said. "Our members have a deep respect for the clergy and so this is a dream come true for our group. They love the pope's humility and especially his apparent joy of the Gospel and how Pope Francis says we need to bring joy back into evangelization." Calling Pope Francis a "breath of fresh air," Nuez said living as a Christian in the U.S. can sometimes feel "like you are swimming against the current" - but "the pope as- sures us we are on the right track."


Pilgrims to travel from Homestead to Philadelphia for Pope Francis

Pilgrims on the weekend trip to Philadelphia fill out release forms and other paperwork during a preparation meeting in August. (CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO FC)

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Father Jesus Alberto Bohorquez poses with an Argentine flag the day Pope Francis was elected. Father Bohorquez was born in Argentina although his family hails from Colombia. (COURTESY)

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