Losing faith, some leave papal Mass lines

Pilgrims wait in long lines near the Ben Franklin Parkway to go through security to see Mass Sunday, September 27, 2015. (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer )

Some on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are starting to lose faith.

Pop-up bands and singing in the streets were switching to quiet disappointment, as the line on 20th Street, two blocks from the checkpoint, have people lined up like crushed sardines.

Some have tickets to the Mass; others don't. Some even turned away at around 2:45, as they figured they were running out of time to catch even a glimpse of Pope Francis.

"What good were the passes?" asked Mary Davis, 84, of Somerton, with the pass around her neck.

She and her friends had waited on 18th, then 19th, for those checkpoints. But before they could get through, authorities forced them onto 20th.

"This should have been better organized," Davis said. "I've waited hours and won't get to see him."

On 18th Street, Irella Reyes took to marking the smallest of milestones by her third hour in the security line. 

When the crowd of thousands in front of her moved even a few inches, she -- like the others in line -- let out a good-natured cheer. 

When any pilgrim decided that their hours-long wait wasn't worth it, Reyes counted their departure from the line. 

"Two less," she said at one point with a laugh, as two young girls scooted their way out of the crowd. 

Reyes, a 49-year-old who traveled from Miami by bus with 600 fellow Catholics, was in good spirits, but questioning was whether she'd get to actually see the Mass. By 3 p.m., her group was still more than two blocks away - with thousands more pilgrims in front. 

Giselle Matthews, 57, of Seattle, Wash., was also worried. She saw the Pope on the Parkway last night. She wanted to see the Mass as well but was giving up hope, fearing she were running out of time to get through security.

"I'll be disappointed. It's a gift to see him," she said.

Bill Frank, 47, of West Deptford, NJ, abandoned 20th Street and headed to Broad, after waiting 90 minutes on 18th Street before trying 19th, which he said was closed, and then 20th. He didn't stay there long when he saw the crowd. He heard folks were getting to the jumbotrons at 15th and Broad quickly, he said, and walked on to try his luck.

Vanessa Matt and Mary Grace Lasquety of Chicago took one look at the 20th Street crowd and decided to go to Independence Hall.

"We said, 'No, we don't think so. Not today," Matt said.

The women said it "stinks" that they wouldn't participate in the mass, but they were still in high spirits.

"It won't be a let-down," Lasquety said. "We actually saw him (yesterday) for maybe three seconds, even two seconds, but it was awesome."