Pope meets with family who drove 13,000 miles to see him

FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2015, file photo, in Mexico City, 41-year-old Catire Walker, center, 39-year-old Noel Zemborain, left, and their children, from left, 3-year-old Carmin, 5-year-old Mia, 8-year-old Dimas and 12-year-old Cala pose in front of their 1980 Volkswagen van, which they named Francisca. The family piled into the van in March in Buenos Aires, Argentina, traveling 13,000 miles to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia and attend the Festival of Families. It took 194 days and 12 border crossings, but the family arrived on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2015, file photo, in Mexico City, 41-year-old Catire Walker, center, 39-year-old Noel Zemborain, left, and their children, from left, 3-year-old Carmin, 5-year-old Mia, 8-year-old Dimas and 12-year-old Cala pose in front of their 1980 Volkswagen van, which they named Francisca. The family piled into the van in March in Buenos Aires, Argentina, traveling 13,000 miles to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia and attend the Festival of Families. It took 194 days and 12 border crossings, but the family arrived on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Pope Francis met Sunday with a family who made a 13,000-mile trip over 194 days from Argentina to Philadelphia in an old Volkswagen van.

Francis spent time with fellow Argentinians Catire Walker and Noel Zemborain and their four children and was touched by their experience, said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.

Walker and Zemborain quit their jobs in food service and marketing to lead their children on the unforgettable tour of the Americas, using savings and soliciting donations to fund the trip to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Along the way they made 12 border crossings and stayed with dozens of host families, did lots of sightseeing and documented the trip online. They schooled their children – Cala, 12; Dimas, 8; Mia, 5; and Carmin, 3 – with the help of a distance learning program.

“I think this kind of meeting shares the same spirit we want our journey to have – to meet other families, to know other families,” Zemborain told The Associated Press last week. “The (World Meeting) slogan is ‘The Family Fully Alive,’ and that’s how we feel as a family.”

Zemborain, Walker and the kids plan to continue traveling until November.

Francis was to celebrate a Mass on Sunday that organizers estimated would draw more than 1 million people to downtown Philadelphia.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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