During the same week as the feast day of Polish saint, St. Faustina Kowalska, a group of 56 pilgrims from Poland made their way to the Vatican as one stop along their week-long pilgrimage throughout Italy.
The visitors, ranging in age from 21 to 81 years old, arranged their church trip so they could attend the papal audience on Wednesday morning.
"To see the pope live, it's not the same like to see the pope on TV, so it's just like a moment where you cannot breathe. It's like you open your eyes, mouth and it's like, 'Wow!'"
While some experienced seeing the pope for the first time, many have made this pilgrimage before with this group from St. Anna and Lawrence Church in their small Polish town. Others had the opportunity to see Pope Francis during World Youth Day in their country this summer.
"I first saw the pope in Krakow in this year for the youth day in Krakow. It was an amazing time with him.”
This priest traveled to Krakow with 52 young people and experienced the passion and excitement for the faith with those who traveled to Poland from all around the world.
While this Polish group has a special place in their heart for St. John Paul II, they have also opened their heart to receive Argentine Pope Francis.
"Like you see and like you know, Pope Francis is almost the same like 'our pope,' so for us it's also close. For Polish people, all the popes are for us, really, really close. Especially 'our pope' who is the most recognizable person in the world.”
As a Catholic Church group, they said this experience is one that is very special for them, especially during this Jubilee Year of Mercy.