Dehlia Gonzalez saw the Pope several times with her own eyes in Rome. She knows the power of seeing him, and she always wanted her children to experience it, too.
So when she heard Pope Francis would be coming to Philadelphia, she didn't hesitate to pile her boys in her car and take a two-day cross-country trip from Round Rock, Tex. to the City of Brotherly Love.
"We drove two days straight to get here," Gonzalez said as she stood on the Parkway after Pope Francis' Mass at the Basilica on Saturday. She said they arrived in Philly Friday night and were tired but doing just fine.
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"The strength of the spirit is with us," she said.
For Christopher, one of Gonzalez's sons, who suffers from autism, the trip was particularly special. Christopher, 15, is very religious, Gonzalez said. He took video of the Pope's Mass shown on outdoor jumbotrons on his iPhone and buzzed with excitement.
"We're so exited for Philadelphia and everything about Pope Francis," Christopher said.