PHILADELPHIA (WOOD) — Sunday’s papal mass was the high point of a special journey for many West Michiganders who went east on a pilgrimage to see Pope Francis.
Among them was a family three generations strong who say they will leave Philadelphia filled with joy. The Periera family of Rockford rode a bus for 17 hours to attended the World Meeting of Families, at which the pope appeared. They said their family is stronger because the experience.
“I have goosebumps right now. Just to be in the presence of the pope on that big scale, even though he was on a Jumbotron, it made the whole trip,” Laura Ashmore, the family grandmother, said.
“Trust me, there was all kinds of ‘three generations folks’ there. The pope represents absolute hope that God gives to us to bring us closer,” Deacon John Ashmore said.
The family rode for two days, walked for miles and waited for hours to see the pope. The family said that despite the physical toll, the trip was nourishing for the soul.
“I do feel energized. My body is about dead but internally, I feel energized,” Clive Periera said.
For Amy Periera, the trip was especially meaningful because her oldest son just celebrated his First Communion. She says they connected on a deeper level.
“I boosted him up so he was able to get a glimpse of the pope. He went by, I put him down on the ground and he just looked up to me and said, ‘Thank you so much.’ That was my moment to pass down to my child and it meant a great deal to me,” she said.