Parishioners from the Diocese of Madison travel to see Pope Francis Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Cathy Lins, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Oct. 01, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
LeVeque family
Three generations of the LeVeque family at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Cathy Lins, and her sister Marie, got names of families from the Diocese of Madison who were going to see Pope Francis during his visit to the United States. What follows are comments from the families and pictures they shared.

Kevin Blau family

Kevin Blau and his family, members of Divine Mercy Parish in Merimac and Sauk City, travelled to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S.

For the D.C. portion of their trip, they received tickets to the West Lawn of the Capitol for the papal address to the joint session of Congress from Representative Paul Ryan’s office.

They then traveled to the weekend World Meeting of Families events in Philadelphia.

Along the way, they visited the U.S. Capitol building and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia.


Pope's visit blog
Cathy Lins and Marie Lins reported throughout their trip to see Pope Francis. See their stories here.

Blau said, “Our six girls are doing well. We came out (on this trip) to show our kids what it’s about. This whole thing allowed my children to experience the Catholic faith fully alive. It’s been fun to listen to them talk among themselves and to hear their observations of what was happening. They were surprised to hear from a pope the same thing their parents had been telling them.

“It was also good for me as a parent to be here. I got to talk with non-Catholics while on the West Lawn and hear their perspectives on the pope.

“In Philadelphia, we got to experience the pilgrims coming. They were nice people who were patient, despite the six-hour wait to get in (the secured areas).”

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson and her sisters, Rhonda Clerkin, Renee Meyer, and Kathleen Murphy, traveled with the Diocese of Green Bay’s pilgrimage.

Karen is a member of the Congregation of St. Mary/St. Paul in Mineral Point. Her sisters are members of St. Bernadette Parish in Barneveld and Ridgeway.

They had planned their trip along with another sister, Karol, who died of cancer last year before she could make this pilgrimage. Karol helped plan their trip, so Karen and her sisters came in her memory.

Anderson said, “My sister Karol and I started planning this trip the minute we heard Pope Francis was coming to the U.S. She was all about mapping and planning out the trip and kept the hope that she would be able to make it. She was calling hotels to get rooms and mapping out our travel plans.

“So this is exciting but also emotional. I miss her tremendously and more each day we got closer to the trip.”

Meyer and Clerkin said, “We were inspired by all of the messages around love and helping others in need and helping those who can’t help you back. We were also inspired by all of the people of Philadelphia, the volunteers, the police, the military, everyone on the streets, and everyone that we talked to. It just shows that something like this can pull everyone together and we can change the world and it’s very exciting. We definitely had a great pilgrimage.”

Michelle and Shaun LeVeque

Michelle and Shaun LeVeque, from St. Peter Parish in Ashton, travelled with their family to Philadelphia. Michelle is the parish coordinator for religious education. Their members attended the Youth Congress and the World Meeting of Families.

Michelle said, “The week was full of memories that will last a lifetime . . . what an adventure! There were countless highlights. I loved meeting so many inspiring people at the exhibition hall — walking in and going to the first booth meeting St. Gianna Molla’s daughter was an incredible experience.

“We waited all day yesterday for a 10 second glimpse of Pope Francis, but it was certainly the perfect cap to a fantastic week. Unfortunately we did not make it to the Papal Mass today. We needed to get back and beat the traffic. It was quite the maze to get out of town with all the closed roads, but we survived with the grace of the Holy Spirit!”

Susan Beck

Susan Beck indicated that 16 people (eight youth and eight adults) from Immaculate Conception Parish in Boscobel traveled to Philadelphia for the weekend to attend the Festival of Families and the Pope’s Sunday Mass. They traveled with others from the Diocese of La Crosse.

Beck said, “We were impressed by the hospitality of everyone in the city. We were thrilled to get so close to Pope Francis last night. I was in the front row with no one in front of me. That was so cool. We love Pope Francis’ message that families can change the world. It was such a joyous weekend.”

Please support our advertisers: