The Papal Pilgrimage to Philly

Pope Mobile before Mass in PhillyThe Papal Pilgrimage to Philadelphia was a once in a lifetime experience! Not only did we get to see Pope Francis multiple times and participate in his mass, but we also truly deepened our faith through knowledge, experience and friendships. One of the coolest parts of the trip was the actual journey to Philadelphia. We got to stop at St. Joseph University’s campus, explore Philadelphia during our six mile walk to and from the mass, and see the pope multiple times as he traveled to and from the seminary where he was staying.


During our trip, the warmth of the Catholic community and love that seemed to emanate from everyone made a great impact on my fellow Hoyas and me. We were blessed to have stayed at St. Joseph’s University with multiple other Jesuit schools from around the country including John Carroll University, Creighton University and Xavier University. It was an amazing experience to meet and talk with the different students while sharing in our faith and getting to know each other better. We also formed a deep sense of community within our small group of students that traveled from Georgetown to Philly. I was one of only two freshmen on the trip, but I had the privilege of meeting so many friendly, welcoming upperclassmen during the trip. We played fun ice breakers while we waited for the bus, food and mass to start, which helped us to get to know one another better. We also chanted the Alma Mater, Fight Song and other fun songs as we walked to the mass – we had to show our Hoya Spirit! More importantly, we chatted with one another as we walked to various places during the trip, which gave us a deeper connection with one another, but also with God. But the deepest and most incredible sense of community I felt on the trip was with the Mass of the World Meeting of Families. It was nothing like I have ever experienced before: 1.5 million Catholics coming together to participate in mass, worship the Lord and show their obedience and adoration for Pope Francis and the Catholic Church. It was truly beautiful to participate in mass by singing, saying the responses and receiving communion with 1.5 million other people.



The Office of Campus Ministry did a wonderful job preparing for this trip and organizing it so we were always well-fed and aware of our itinerary. We were able to try out some original Philly cheesesteaks – some of the students had never had them before. The awesome organization and flow of the trip made it easier to enjoy one another’s company, spend more time in reflection and prayer and enjoy our time in Philadelphia. This trip was truly special for me because of the great Georgetown students I met, but most importantly, I got to experience the mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The mass was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and it was truly powerful to see so many others gathered to practice their faith. It made me feel stronger in my faith to be surrounded by so many other practicing Catholics – a feeling that will resonate with me for many years to come.

Written by Michael Marsh, B’19