PHILADELPHIA, PA – September 26, 2015
Early on Saturday morning, September 26th, a group of 30 students from Duquesne University set off on a pilgrimage from Pittsburgh to take part in the Pope Francis’ historic visit to the Philadelphia, the birthplace of liberty and freedom in the United States. They were hosted by another Spiritan school, Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, where they camped out on the floor of the Firebird Fieldhouse Saturday night. Fr. Bill Christy, C.S.Sp., a Duquesne University campus minister and a member of the Holy Ghost Prep class of 1982, accompanie the students along with other members of the Spiritan Campus Ministry team at Duquesne. Nine students from Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh joined the group from Duquesne.
When they arrived in Bucks County Saturday, the students were treated to a barbecue by the hosting Spiritan school community and visited the St. Katharine Drexel Shrine, who worked closely with the Spiritans in African-American parishes in the inner city and throughout the south. Christy and the 39 students headed into Philadelphia the next day to join the million plus expected to participate in the papal Mass which took place on the steps of the famous Philadelphia Art Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
In addition to presiding at the outdoor Mass on Sunday afternoon, the pope visited Independence Hall where he gave a speech on religious liberty using the same wooden lectern that Abraham Lincoln spoke from when he gave the Gettysburg Address.