St. Joseph's Seminary ready for Pope visit

April 9, 2008 12:43:48 PM PDT
Preparations for Pope Benedict XVI visit to Saint Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie are extensive, every detail must be right. Eyewitness News spoke to Father Sweeney, who says "The pope will come right here to the front... This is where he came in 1988. So he'll come back home in a sense."

Back in 1988 Pope Benedict XVI was Cardinal Ratzinger.

Father Sweeney says "The fact that he came back in 1988 is tremendous. Who would have though he would become pope? A number of us were here as seminarians and now we're back here as priests."

Once he's greeted inside, "He's going to proceed inside the chapel. This is where Pope John Paul II came back in 1995. We literally redid the doors and put in an image from Saint Peter's Basilica."

After the Pope prays, he will have a chance to meet with 50 young people who are handicapped.

This is not the first time a Pope has visited Saint Joesph's Seminary. In 1995 it hosted Pope John Paul II.

"When pope John Paul II came we thought this was a once in a lifetime never again would a Pope come back to Saint Joseph's Seminary," adds Father Sweeney.

There's just as much anticipation and excitement now.

"Due to security you're here for a good many hours so it just builds and builds and builds til finally the Pope comes in," Father Sweeney says.

During his daily walk, neighbor Joe Patraiko visits a tree the Pope planted when he was a Cardinal.

"I'm very pleased with him coming. I was here when Pope John Paul II came too. And the crowd was enormous and will be enormous when he comes on the 19th of April," says Patraiko.

So enormous that 20,000 children will pack Saint Joseph's Seminary.

An empty field will be transformed into a massive stage where the Pope will talk to kids.