YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The crowd started gathering outside the White House grounds well before sunrise Wednesday and by the time Pope Francis and the first family appeared, an estimated 15,000 people were standing on the South Lawn.
Brian Corbin, vice president of Catholic Charities, was one of more than 175 representatives of the agency invited to the ceremony Wednesday morning, and among three from the Youngstown area.
Corbin shared pictures of the event with WYTV 33 News which show the throngs of people and crowds so large that only the top of the White House can be seen.
“We were all standing shoulder to shoulder, and some of us had to rely on the Jumbotrons to actually what was going on,” Corbin said.
Corbin says this is the third time he’s been able to see the Pope. For many, this week’s events in Washington, New York and Philadelphia will be the only opportunity they have to get close to the pontiff.
Corbin said the Pope’s pilgrimage is helping to galvanize Catholics and others to what he calls the church’s moral message.
“I think the Holy Father is just doing the simple message of the Gospel – God’s love and God’s mercy, and he is really living that out with his simple actions,” Corbin said.
An example of that simplicity, Corbin says, is the Holy Father’s use of a Fiat instead of a limousine Tuesday after arriving in the United States.
A 4 p.m. mass is scheduled in Washington, D.C. where Youngstown Bishop George Murry will be in attendance. The pontiff will also address a joint session of Congress on Thursday.