Local parishioners plan for historic papal visit

In this picture provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis delivers his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and to the world) blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014. Tens of thousands of Romans and tourists in St. Peter's Square listened as the pontiff delivered the Catholic church's traditional "Urbi et Orbi" (Latin for "to the city and to the world) Christmas message from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. Francis said: "truly there are so many tears this Christmas." Pope Francis focused his concern Thursday on those weeping in the world this Christmas, singling out refugees, hostages and others suffering in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine as he prayed for hope and peace. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Sunday marks the start of a historic week. Pope Francis will arrive in Washington D.C. Tuesday. It will be his first trip to America as pope and lots of people from Connecticut are planning to hear the pope speak.

News 8 spoke with parishioners outside St. Therese Church in Branford on Sunday. They’re leaving Friday afternoon for Philadelphia and spending the weekend there.

Related: Connecticut Catholics excited for Pope’s U.S. visit

The pope arrived in Cuba Saturday. He’ll then be going to Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia.

Michele and Walter Kendrioski will be leaving with about 200 other people from the archdiocese of Hartford. They are hoping they’ll get to see the pontiff. Though they’re not sure how close they’ll get, they’re just looking forward to being there.

“I think just being in his presence – I don’t know how close or how far – it’ll just be something that will just be a wonderful experience,” said Michele Kendrioski.

There will be retreats and a festival they’ll be able to attend while they’re there for the pope’s visit. They’re excited about his message and they hope that his visit to the United States brings people together.

“I think it’s very refreshing,” said Walter Kendrioski. “The Catholic Church has had its bumps and bruises lately and it makes me proud that I can be proud to be a Catholic.”

Related: Archbishop talks local preparations for pope visit

Walter Kendrioski likes what Pope Francis has brought to the Catholic Church in his time as its leader. He feels the pontiff sets a good example, treats people with respect and is a role model that he hopes his children can learn from.

“He’s following the guidelines that he sets forth and it makes it a lot easier for me as a father – that this is the right way to do things,” he said.

Michele Kendrioski hopes all people will feel welcomed by the Catholic Church after the pope’s visit.

“Since he’s become pope I’ve just been very inspired by him, intrigued by him,” she said. “I find him very welcoming, a very compassionate person, and just very full of mercy.”

The pope will be in the U.S. until next Sunday.

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