Local reaction to the Pope’s U.S. visit

For the first time since 2008 the United States is preparing for a visit from the pontiff of the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis spent the last few days in Cuba, where he held mass Sunday, and later exchanged gifts with Cuban leader Raul Castro.

For Father Michael Charles Ajigo Abiero, who is currently preaching at St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church in Paducah, says Pope Francis’ visit to the United States is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"I love him because he isn’t only a pope for Catholics, but he is a pope for all," said Fr. Ajigo Abiero.

However, Fr. Abiero admits he missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

"I was asked to register to go celebrate mass with him, but at the time I was traveling back to Africa to get my religious worker VISA," said Fr. Abiero.

Pope Francis will have the opportunity to speak to millions of Americans while stateside, including congress.

St. Thomas More Catholic Church Deacon Terry Larbes says despite the setting that message won’t be political.

"The Pope is bringing a spiritual message to us about the care and the stewardship of the world," said Larbes.

A message that high school faith formation coordinator Clint Green hopes spreads through our region and across the country.

"What he has done since he has been elected Pope is to really excite people emotionally,” said Green.  “We’re all on a common mission, and the problems that we face as individuals in this country and globally far outweigh and are far more important than our differences."

The Pope’s visit to the United States runs Tuesday through Sunday, with stops in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York.

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