Pilgrims plan to camp on Parkway

A group plans to camp on the Parkway Saturday into Sunday. ( CHRIS PALMER / Staff )

The group from St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas had fresh blankets Saturday night, breakfast for the next morning, and alarms set for 4 am.

But they weren't staying at a hotel - they'd set up camp on the Parkway.

"This is our hotel for the night," said 30-year-old Noe CQ Vielma CQ with a laugh.

The group, with about two dozen settling in next to Texan and Mexican flags they'd put up near their site, was among a small smattering of campers who were lingering on the Parkway after the night's festivities ended.

It was unclear whether the overnight Pilgrims would be allowed to stay until dawn - one Philadelphia police officer, who declined to give his name, said before the ceremony ended that everyone would be cleared out after clean up. Public affairs did not reply to a request for comment Saturday night.

Most of the small groups around the Parkway looked peacefully at rest by 11 p.m. Saturday.

And Vielma said his crew had been preparing for this campout since February. They wanted to get up before dawn to position themselves for the best possible view of the Pontiff on Sunday.

They brought sleeping bags, a cooler for food, and plenty of spirit. Vielma's only wonder was whether they'd be able to find coffee in the morning.

"That's the one thing we didn't think of," he said.