Peninsula Catholic students' trip to see Pope Francis marked with prayer, games and song

Andrea Castillo
Contact Reporteracastillo@dailypress.com
Peninsula Catholic group trip to see pope marked with prayer, games and song

For Beatrice and Dominic Adinaro, seeing the pope has become a family affair.

The sister and brother, both students at Peninsula Catholic High School, are two of 25 students traveling to Philadelphia with their classmates this weekend to see Pope Francis during his stop in the city.

Last week, their grandparents and aunt traveled to Cuba to do the same.

"We're all getting a bit of the action, and it's awesome," Beatrice Adinaro, a sophomore, said from the bus taking them from Newport News to Philadelphia on Friday. "We're so glad we're getting this opportunity."

The bus left from the school parking lot at 9 a.m., and before noon they were already in Arlington, where they stopped for a lunch break at a mall near the Pentagon.

As the trip began the students prayed the rosary, offering it up for several of their friends and family members.

Senior Maria Mummert offered her prayers in memory of her grandfather, who died in May and would have celebrated his 71st birthday on Friday. Mummert said he was on her mind, as her grandfather likely would have taken the opportunity himself to see Pope Francis if he could.

"I've always admired this pope," she said.

By about 3:30 p.m., they had arrived to their lodgings for the weekend, a summer camp in Pennsylvania about an hour outside of Philadelphia, where they will be staying with other groups arriving in the area for the papal visit.

The pope's visit to Philadelphia will include an address at Independence Hall on Saturday and an appearance at the Festival of Families afterward, featuring a lineup including Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli, The Fray, Sister Sledge, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Jim Gaffigan and other performers.

On Sunday afternoon, Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families.

On both days, he is expected to appear in a parade along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Visitors to Philadelphia can attend an outdoor festival taking place this weekend and watch the pope on Jumbotrons set up in the area, though tickets are required for closer access to the events.

Previously, the Peninsula Catholic group had tickets for some of the group, but not for everyone. At the last minute, the Diocese of Richmond helped them get enough for all of the students and teachers going on the trip.

The students learned the news on the bus and cheered.

Bus ride

Over the six hours it took to get to camp, the students did not want for entertainment.

There were three ukuleles on the bus. The ukulele players, with experience with the instruments ranging from two weeks to two years, experimented with new chords and played songs like Bruno Mars' "Count on Me," Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love," and Vance Joy's "Riptide."

Others came prepared with music on their phones.

Some played games such as Uno and Apples to Apples. Others kept themselves entertained with hand-held video games.

The day was punctuated by exclamations of "Pope trip!" that were often repeated in quick succession by several students.

"We're like a big, goofy family," said theology teacher Sue Wilkinson, one of five teachers on the trip. "These kids are my kids. We know the parents are home praying for us."

The Adinaros aren't the only siblings traveling together. Among others are junior Luigi Almirante and his twin brother Miggy, one of the three ukulele players. Beatrice Adinaro plays, too. So does Rachel Joaquin, a sophomore traveling with her twin brother Evan.

Luigi Almirante said he is looking forward to spending time with his classmates and other fellow Catholics. In anticipation for the trip, he said he has prayed more.

"I want to get myself ready spiritually to meet the pope," he said.

Wilkinson said she is looking forward to seeing the students experience the event among so many people who share a common faith.

"All that energy goes home," she said, "and it can only do good in the home, do good in their school, do good in their parishes."

Castillo can be reached by phone at 757-247-4635.

Local coverage of the pope's visit

Daily Press reporter Andrea Castillo and photographer Jonathon Gruenke are in Philadelphia with students and teachers from Peninsula Catholic High School for the pope's visit Saturday and Sunday.

On Twitter, follow @by_andreacast, @Daily_Press and @visualDP for live coverage, or search hashtag #HRpope. If you are attending any of the papal events, use the hashtag #HRpope in your tweets.

On Instagram, follow @dailypressnews and @dailypressphotogs for photos from the event.

For complete coverage of the trip, including photos, videos and stories, go to the #HRpope live blog.

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