At Paoli shortly before 6 a.m. was Lynn Pupec, who’d gotten off her job at the Buck Town Grille restaurant in her hometown of Pottstown at 1:15 a.m. and pulled an all-nighter to come to the train station.
Pupec, who was with her 9-year-old son Brandon, will be singing in the papal choir at Sunday’s open air mass. She said she may have to stay up all night again tonight in order to leave tomorrow at 4 a.m. to get to a staging area at the Mann Music Center. She said her husband, on the other hand, had refused to get out of bed.
Pupec and her son came with another family from Pottstown: Her co-worker Carol Ann Donahue, 48, her husband Max Donahue Sr., 48, who runs a commercial carpet cleaning business, and their children Ian, 15, and Max, 14.
There were varying levels of enthusiasm at the pre-dawn adventure.
“This is only going to happen once,” young Max enthused. “People from all over are coming here — from Europe, Russia, everywhere!”
Asked if he was excited, his brother Ian simply replied, “No.”
The parents in the group made up in any deficit in fervor.
“We want to have an encounter with God,” Pupec said.
Added Carol Ann Donahue: “The Holy Spirit is going to be present throughout the day.”
“Whether you find that encounter on a train or with the people you meet, God will present himself to us,” Pupec added. “It’s not necessarily about the pope. It’s about encountering God today.”
Max Donahue Sr. said the day was “about renewing and understanding the importance of families.”
Pupec’s son, Brandon, looked up. “I’m tired.”