Meeting a Pope: Experience of a Lifetime

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DUNMORE -- Some would say getting to see the pope is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thousands of people are getting the chance to see Pope Francis this week. Newswatch 16 spoke with two people who saw Pope John Paul II in person -- and they both call the experience, indescribable.

Not everyone is lucky enough to see a pope in their lifetime, but Joe D'Andrea of Dunmore has been able to meet one.

"It was a feeling that is almost hard to describe of peace and tranquility and emotion and spirit. It was really just something," D'Andrea said

D'Andrea may spend his days working as a defense attorney -- but he's a proud catholic. He considers himself blessed that a few family connections allowed him to see Pope John Paul II a few different times, even with his three children.

"It was a real honor and it was, there were memories I mean I have pictures of the pope holding my little daughter when she was two tickling her and teasing her. I mean those are things I know I'm blessed to have experienced."

"'Live your life abundantly.' I believe that was the message Pope John Paul II gave when I was in World Youth Day. And I strive for that every day," said Mari May of Dunmore.

It's been more than 20 years since May saw Pope John Paul II in Colorado. Still she believes the experience she had seeing him changed her life.

"I went through such horrible years of infertility and to have the blessings I have I believe are because of my faith and my faith was enriched by my experience with Pope John Paul II."

May believes the power of prayer and praying to the pope is what got her through her infertility struggles. She now has a son and daughter, two miracles she's not sure would have happened without turning to her faith.

Both D'Andrea and May won't be able to make it to Philadelphia this weekend, but they plan to follow his visit, and so can you. Newswatch 16 will have crews in Philadelphia showing you happenings of the pope's visit.

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