Pope Francis meets with family who drove 21,000km trip over 194 days from Argentina to Philadelphia in an old Volkswagen van to see him

September 28, 2015 5:46 pm

 


Francis spent time with fellow Argentinians Catire Walker and Noel
Zemborain and their four children, talking about their visit and
praying. Photo / Getty Images

met Sunday with a family who made a 20,920km trip over
194 days from Argentina to Philadelphia in an old Volkswagen van.
Francis
spent time with fellow Argentinians Catire Walker and Noel Zemborain
and their four children, talking about their visit and praying.
Zemborain
told the Associated Press that Francis told her that they were crazy to
drive so far with their children. She said it was like meeting an old
friend and Francis hugged the children.
“We couldn’t believe it. They called us this morning (and) we were like in shock,” she said after Sunday night’s Mass.
“It is like being with an old friend. He was so warm. He told us we were crazy. He made jokes.
“The
children got to hug him a lot. They couldn’t leave him. Not at all
protocol, not at all formal, it was like being with a friend.”

Walker and Zemborain quit their jobs in food service and
marketing to lead their children on the unforgettable tour of the
Americas, using savings and soliciting donations to fund the trip to the
World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Along the way they
made 12 border crossings and stayed with dozens of host families, did
lots of sightseeing and documented the trip online. They schooled their
children ” Cala, 12; Dimas, 8; Mia, 5; and Carmin, 3 ” with the help of a
distance learning program.
The family said they got a call at 6
a.m. Sunday that Francis wanted to meet with them at the Saint Charles
Borromeo Seminary, where he stayed this weekend.
Francis told the family he had been following their trip, they wrote in a Facebook post.
Zemborain,
Walker and the kids plan to continue traveling until November, when
they will fly home from Miami. They were going to send the van by ship,
but then a relative volunteered to drive it back to Buenos Aires from
Florida.
Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday that drew hundreds of thousands to downtown Philadelphia.

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