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Nation's capital braces for papal visit

Posted: 5:28 PM, Sep 21, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-21 17:28:59-04
Everything is coming up Francis.
 
There are signs popping up everywhere on the eve of Pope Francis’ visit to the nation's capital.
 
The barricades are in place to shut down much of downtown DC, and they're even tuning up a papal briefing room at the Marriott Marquis on Massachusetts Avenue so everyone can follow the popular pontiff's every move from the time he touches down at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday afternoon until he departs for New York 48 hours later.
 
Parishioners at the city's first Catholic church, historic Saint Patrick's, are full of anticipation over his scheduled stop here on Thursday.
 
"I'm very excited he's going to be here even though I might not be able to see him, because they put up barricades," Joseph Haryanto said.
 
In its more than two centuries of service, the church has had more than its share of presidents visit, but never a pope.
 
Monsignor Sal Criscuolo is beside himself.
 
"We are all excited.  I'm not nervous.  We don't have time to be nervous yet,” Criscuolo said. “Probably the morning of I will be nervous, but right now we're still putting the finishing touches on everything and we've been doing this throughout the entire summer, preparing for the visit of our Holy Father, which is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity."
 
Monsignor Sal, as he's known, says the popularity of this pope is bringing people in droves to Washington, and he says his personable appeal is no mystery.
 
"His sincerity, his genuineness, his ability to just win people over just by his smile, just by that twinkle in those eyes of his and reaching out to people all the time and he's not doing this because he's the pope.  He's done this his entire priesthood."
 
St. Patrick's held a lottery and 60 of its parishioners will get to be there for the pope's visit, but Monsignor Sal is quick to say they didn't turn anyone away.  They just invited some in.
 

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