Grace Lugo and Stefanie Scotto, pilgrims from Our Lady Of Sorrows in Corona, Queens, were moved to tears still in disbelief.
They were among the crowd of pilgrims from the Diocese of Brooklyn who welcomed Pope Francis to Edward the 7th Park, along with hundreds of thousands of their peers.
For Julia Galante a pilgrim from St Patrick’s Church, listening to Pope Francis’ message was surreal.
“I got the chills, it’s something you would never expect to see in your lifetime,”Galante said. “I’ve heard so many people say you feel a presence of God when you see the pope but it actually was crazy.”
Through a translator, he began his address by telling the young pilgrims they were all called to World Youth Day by Jesus Christ.
It was a message in particular that Galante felt was being delivered to her personally.
“That was really heartfelt for me because only a few months ago I didn’t even know I was going on this trip,”Galante said. “And I wanted to go on this trip to feel closer to God so that’s crazy for the Pope to say. I don’t think I’ve gone to Mass this much in my life, so it’s really made an impact.”
For other pilgrims like Luka Puglisi, Pope Francis’ presence shifted the environment of the crowd at World Youth Day.
“Even though he was far away and I couldn’t see him you felt this aura in the vicinity,” Puglisi said. “People were yelling their heads off. It was a really cool thing to see.”