NJ faithful to sleep at zoo ahead of pope's visit
When Pope Francis comes to the U.S. in September, millions of faithful followers with try to catch a glimpse. The Roberts family of Bergen County, N.J., will be among them. But they won't be staying in a hotel. Instead, they are sleeping at the zoo. The Robertses will travel with more than 200 others from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood on a weekend trip to the world meeting of families in Philadelphia, one of the final stops on the pope's U.S. tour.
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But with huge crowds expected to flood the area, hotel rooms are expensive and few and far between, so church staff started thinking outside the box.
For $65 a head, the families from Mount Carmel will sleep in sleeping bags in the bird and insect buildings of the Philadelphia Zoo. Father Gino Delarama says he did a site visit and was assured there is nothing to worry about.
The Roberts kids are thrilled and have only one concern: escaping lions.
From the zoo, the Mount Carmel group may have to walk more than a mile and a half to get to the event. But they say it is all part of the pilgrimage experience -- one that would approve of.
The group is trying to build excitement around the pilgrimage which they will be documenting on social media in real time. They already have a hashtag -- #olmczoocrew -- and their slogan is "Pope Francis we're sleeping at the zoo so we can see you."