Local church group headed to Philadelphia

News 6 at 6:00p
News 6 at 6:00p

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Friday night, when 55 congregation members from the Resurrection Catholic Church Winter Garden board a bus, they will finally begin a journey they've been planning for the past 7 months.

They've packed first aid kits, fanny packs, and even sleeping bags in case they decide to camp out to secure their spot the night before they see the pope.

The group will travel 17 hours by bus to Philadelphia Thursday evening and share hotel beds to make the trip as economical as possible and allow as many church members as possible to join the group.

"I feel that I have to be there because I want to be there," said Regina Ferreire. "For me it's a dream."

Ferreire said the last time she saw a pope was John Paul II in her native country of Brazil and it was life-changing. She expects the same on Sunday.

 "The mass that he brings is for unification, for everyone to be together," said Ferreire in a heavy accent. "To plan and believe in a good life for everyone."

The group is bringing five cases of custom-designed specially labeled bottled water with a printed picture of the pope. They will bring it back to Central Florida as "blessed" and distribute it to church members as souvenirs.

The group was able to order six tickets for the pope's 4 p.m. Mass on Sunday in Philadelphia allowing them into the reserved seating section. They said all 10,000 free tickets were gone in 30 seconds.

"OK I can't get close to Jesus physically, spiritually yes, but I can get close to this person physically which is the closest person to God on earth," said Weyne Araujao. "The experience up close of the most holy person on earth right now."

The group returns on Tuesday.

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