Local Resident Travels to hear Pope Francis Speak

As officials in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. prepare for the pope’s visit which begins tomorrow, some people here on the Coast are also getting ready. News 25’s Katarina Luketich introduces us to one local man who is flying out tomorrow to witness the pope’s historic visit to the United States first hand.
Gulfport resident Chris Spear attended the papal visit to New Orleans in 1987, but was too young to remember it. Tomorrow, he’s flying to Pennsylvania with his wife and mother to hear Pope Francis speak. “This is kind of one of those once in a lifetime events where you can see the Pope,” said Spear, “But not only that experience, almost a week of great speakers and just meet a lot of other families who are trying to do the right thing in the world.”
Spear tells News 25 he’s excited to hear about a number of things from the pope, but is especially excited to hear Pope Francis’ focus on the family. “He’s coming to celebrate families in particular. Right now, obviously, families are a lot in the news with the Supreme Court ruling and just general culture,” said Spear.
Spear believes with the recent legalization of gay marriage and other hot button topics, mainstream culture pressures Catholics to comply with things against their beliefs. He feels right now is a difficult time for Catholics to be American citizens. “I think a lot of modern day Catholics are kind of feeling like they can’t both be a mainstream American and a Catholic. I think Pope Francis has a very good idea about how you can integrate the two and be both faithful to what you believe in but also be a good citizen to the country.”
While he’s ready to hear Pope Francis’ take on current events, he’s also just as excited to eat some Philly cheesesteaks.
Pope Francis will fly into Washington D.C. tomorrow, move on to New York on Friday, then spend Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia before flying back to Rome later Sunday night.

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