Jen Ali, 67, Washington, D.C.
Ali listened to Pope Francis’ speech outside the Capitol after attending the parade and mass Wednesday. “It has been a spiritual journey and a memorable event that I will never forget.” She teared up when she spoke about the pope, “He is like a tender grandfather for us. … The speech was to let people know that this pope is about love, humanity and caring for all people.”
Sandra Irish (left), 54, and Simonetta D’Onofrio (right), 52, are cousins from Maryland.
“The speech was inspiring and the pope was able to give a positive message, enforcing the rights of human beings.” Irish said. “Congress needs to keep that in mind when making all laws for our country.”
D’Onofrio added, “My hope is that our leaders will continue the process rather than staying idle.” She also praised the pope for being inclusive when he came out on a balcony of the Capitol and addressed the public.
Maryqueen Chilaka, 58, Texas
Chilaka came to America 26 years ago from Nigeria. She said what caught her attention from the speech was that the pope “made everybody understand we were once foreigners.” Immigration is one of the issues she wants the Congress to address. “Many illegal immigrants are here with their kids. If the government wants to take them home, what happens to the children?”
Molly Porth, 27, Washington, D.C.
“I thought it was great, because he has a wonderful way of being powerful and progressive, but also not divisive. What he said drew applause from both Republicans, Democrats, Catholics, Christians, Jewish and Muslims. He has a beautiful way of bringing everyone together and saying powerful, meaningful things without dividing people, as we’re so used to in Washington.”
Julia Melendez, 53, Newport News, Va.