Parishes Hold Holy Hours Across Delmarva Ahead of Papal Visit - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Parishes Hold Holy Hours Across Delmarva Ahead of Papal Visit

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Holy Hours held across Delmarva ahead of US visit from Pope Francis (Photo: WBOC) Holy Hours held across Delmarva ahead of US visit from Pope Francis (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - A huge moment for American Catholics is set to begin as Pope Francis arrives in the United States on Tuesday. 

Catholics across Delmarva gathered to pray Monday evening ahead of his arrival. Parishes all over the peninsula held a Holy Hour.

There was one at Holy Cross Church in Dover. It was a time of prayers aloud and a time of silent prayers. 

Pat Fitzgerald was one of about 70 people praying at holy cross Monday night.

"It was a good opportunity to pray for the Pope's visit, for his success," he said.

The Diocese of Wilmington, which includes all of Delmarva, has more than 230,000 Catholics and 57 parishes. The Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly, bishop of Wilmington, called for these services across the area.

Father John Olson is an associate pastor at Holy Cross. He says a Eucharistic holy hour is not uncommon for Catholics. But this one is, of course, special.

"We're marking the arrival of our Holy Father," said Olson. "We believe he is the successor of St. Peter as the vicar of Christ on Earth. To prepare for him we pray. We believe prayer is the most powerful thing on Earth."

Holy Cross and a parish in Marydel, Md., are taking 56 people on a bus to Philadelphia to see the pope. But there are a lot of people who won't be able to make the trip.

"It's true that not everybody can have the opportunity to go up to Philadelphia, to Washington, to the other places where the Pope is coming. This helps connect them," Olson said.

Fitzgerald isn't going to see the pope, and he says the Holy Hour did help connect him to the visit.

"I think so. Yeah. For sure," he said. "Having a prayer for its success and praying for family helped further his agenda - at least for the family portion."

The Diocese of Wilmington got 50 tickets to Wednesday's mass in Washington, D.C.  Those were distributed via lottery.

For the three big events in Philadelphia, the diocese gave a small number of tickets for each to every parish to distribute.

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