Group comes all the way from Atlanta to get a glimpse of Pope Francis

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website, the Delaware County Daily Times‘ website, The Mercury‘s website, The Times Herald‘s website, The Reporter‘s website, The Trentonian‘s website, The Phoenix‘s website, the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website and the Berks-Mont News‘ website and featured in the South Jersey Local News.
Coming all the way from Atlanta, they hope to meet Pope Francis. (Candice Monhollan)

Coming all the way from Atlanta, they hope to meet Pope Francis. (Candice Monhollan)

PHILADELPHIA — An outreach group called Love and Serve from Atlanta drew inspiration from Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel” and decided to make a pilgrimage of their own to Philadelphia this week.

Spreading the word around about the trip, Love and Serve gathered together 300 people from around the United States to join.

“We’re 300 missionaries from all over the country and we’re here to do what Pope Francis is calling us to do in “The Joy of the Gospel,” said Dave Sloan, founder of Love and Serve and the mission director of the trip, called Love and Serve with Francis in Philly. “We want to love and serve everybody that we meet.”

Joining the missionaries is Johann Pylous, a 17 year old from Louisville, Kent.

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“I’ve always loved serving the poor people, and not only just the poor people, but helping people out whenever I can, especially now with Pope Francis,” he said. “The reason I love Pope Francis is because he’s all about helping all the people in the world and about us being stewards. He’s more of a people person.”

“The Joy of the Gospel,” says people have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without the exclusion of anyone.

“We want to share that love by providing shoes, socks, toiletry kits, backpacks and other supplies to the homeless,” Sloan said. “We’re also going to hand out 3,000 copies of a new book about Pope Francis and we’re also going to hand out 7,000 rosaries and rosary guides.”

Sloan found there was no problem finding people to fill the spots for the trip.

“We had to turn down a lot of people because we didn’t have room,” he said.

The group is staying at a campground in Medford, N.J., in cabins with bunk beds while they are in Philadelphia for the Holy Father’s visit.

Their home base in the city is the St. Andrew Lithuanian Catholic Church, where the missionaries will meet and break out into the city.

“We have 10 teams of 30 people who have gone out to different areas,” Sloan said. “Everybody is on foot to serve and love. That’s why we’re all here.”

Though the weekend is just beginning, Pylous has already enjoyed the experiences in Philadelphia.

“It has been great,” he said. “We’re talking to people, hearing their stories and being actually concerned about the person rather than just donating this stuff to another organization for somebody else to distribute it.”

Though these 300 people are here to help others in Philadelphia, they are more looking forward to meeting people from all different walks of life across the City of Brotherly Love.

“We’re more focused on having encounters with people, talking to people, getting to know their name, hear their stories and share ‘The Joy of the Gospel,’” Sloan said. “It’s just an opportunity to serve people in any way that we possibly can. We’ll invite them to come to Mass with us on Sunday.”

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Categories: Community, Religion, World Meeting of Families, World News

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