Local Latino community energized by pope visit

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Catholics in the Philadelphia area - and in much of the nation - are preparing for the visit of Pope Francis. (WPVI)

Catholics in the Philadelphia area - and in much of the nation - are preparing for the visit of Pope Francis.

And for the area's growing Latino population - it's an extra special event, considering the Pope's Latin background.

One place where the excitement in brewing is inside St. Patrick's in Norristown.

On Sunday, a Mass was being said entirely in Spanish. It is one of the busiest and most packed in the parish.

"This Mass we had to open the balcony because there are so many people," said Father Gus Puleo.

St. Patrick's Parish has about 2,500 in their congregation. 85 percent are Latino and of the five masses per weekend, three are in Spanish.

The visit by Pope Francis in September for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia is bringing even more people to Mass.

"He speaks Spanish like they do. The music and dance we'll have he'll recognize," Father Puleo said, the pope will recognize their music and dance.

Luis and Celenia Tello are lifelong parishioners. Now in their twenties, the brother and sister say they are re-energized.

"The pope being Hispanic makes it even more exciting. We've never seen a pope anywhere else, so the pope being Hispanic and coming to Philadelphia - that odds of that are just crazy," Celenia said.

"It is a good opportunity for little kids to get involved, even people who are young but not really connected. It's a good way for them to reconnect with their faith," Luis said.

Miriam Bibian is also thrilled. She came to the United States from Mexico more than 20 years ago, and her American milestones have all been here. In September, she hopes to welcome other Catholics.

"I'm going to try and host a family," she said.

"There is a special bond," said Father Puleo. "He always says the biggest problem we have these days is global indifference."

The World Meeting of Families will be held from September 22nd to the 27th.

Related Topics:
religionpa. newspope francisworld meeting of families 2015

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