A group of Valley pilgrims. This photo and all photos in this story provided courtesy of Father Javier Gutierrez
Pilgrimage To The Pope
A journey of a lifetime is what many of the travelers called it. This past week 30 local residents from the Valley area traveled to Philadelphia to participate in the Catholic Churches’ 2015 World Meeting of Families, and Pope Francis’s visit to the United States.
These pilgrims from the Valley, led by father Javier of Holy Cross Church in Santa Cruz and father Julio of the Holy Family Church in Chimayo, joined with more than 30,000 other people from around the globe who participated in four days of workshops and prayer. The World Meeting of Families is held once every three years in a different city around the world. The mission of the event is to strengthen family bonds and highlight the role of the family in biblical teachings. On the final day more than 800,000 people gathered outside Liberty Hall in Philadelphia to participate in a mass led by Pope Francis in his first ever visit to the United States. Father Javier Gutierrez of Holy Cross Church said that the Valley residents who attended were able to participate in the Mass while standing next to the Liberty Bell.
The Valley pilgrims also got to see the Pope up close during his motorcade while he road in an open air Jeep. Father Javier said of the experience “the thing that I felt was the closeness of this Pope; being in touch with his humility and openness to all. We saw Pope who drives in a small inexpensive car and is a person who is willing to reach out and want to be with the people. He was humble and warm and open. When he talked to the people it was like a grandpa talking to a grandchild full of love and innocence, a fatherly approach” Father Javier added that Pope Francis spoke about social issues, such as immigration. “The Pope said God has given a citizenship to the families but we create borders and divisions” said Father Javier, adding “The most important lesson from Pope Francis is that God cares for the families. Families are the domestic church for the world”.