PHILADELPHIA (TIP): Pope Francis met Sunday with a family who made a 13,000-mile 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.
The family, on their Facebook page where they’ve been documenting their journey, said Francis called them “crazy” and laughed.
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.
“You are the family who traveled from Buenos Aires?” the family recalled Francis telling them. He told them he had been following their trip.
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.