Lexington parishioners celebrate Pope Francis at home and on pilgrimage

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Parishioners from around the world have traveled to the eastern portion of the U.S., hoping to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis.

That includes some from central Kentucky. One group is en route now to Philadelphia; another is staying put and observing from a distance. It was close to mass as usual at Lexington’s Cathedral of Christ the King.

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“Our opening song will be the same one they greeted the Pope with in D.C.,” announced Fr. Gino Donatelli. That song was complemented by special prayers for the pontiff’s visit to the U.S. It’s a visit, even those celebrating from home, are excited about.

“Oh, it’s just been Heaven-sent. He’s excellent, he’s been exciting,” says Ed Tiemeyer. “He brings out the goodness that all the people should have.”

“They have accepted him and taken him to their hearts,” adds Michael Horenkamp.

For Father Gino Donatelli, who’s taken trips to see popes before, the excitement is also for parishioners making the pilgrimage.

“It probably doesn’t matter how close they’ll get. They’re just there and they’ll be able to tell other members of our diocese that they were there, what it was like. They’ll be able to pass that along to our grandchildren,” he says.

Mike Allen is leading one group to Philadelphia. His is part of more than 200 Lexington diocese parishioners making the trip.

“I think people are just excited about the opportunity to gather together. It’s such a significant event to see Pope Francis of course the Catholics, we love our popes,” says Allen.