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Argentinian Family Journeys In Their Volkswagen to U.S. to See Pope

A Buenos Aires, Argentina family named their Volkswagen van "Francisca," packed their bags and has embarked on a months-long journey from their country to the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia - to see their beloved fellow Argentino, Pope Francis.

Catire Walker, 41, wife, Noel Zemborain and 4 children left in their van in March and have already traversed South and Central America. They are now in Mexico where they have come to see the "Papa" at the Festival of Families.

"The essence of this is to make a family trip and, well, the festival gives a deeper purpose and a goal, but it's a family trip," said 39-year-old Zemborain, who works in communications and marketing. She and the rest of the family are documenting the trip through Twitter, Facebook and a blog.

"Our trip is a lot like a trip of discovery," she told The Associated Press by phone from Mexico. "We're staying in families' homes, we're meeting people in the different places we pass through, sharing with them and the Festival of Families has a bit of the same spirit."

Despite car trouble, rain or lack of accommodations, the family said strangers have opened their doors to them. One of them was Gustavo Martinez of Puebla, Mexico, who read about them through a Catholic news service and their blog.

"As a Catholic, I like to meet people in whom faith is something living, like a motor," said Martinez, who teaches Italian at the Michelangelo Academy and is a philosophy professor at the Popular Autonomous University of Puebla state. "When I saw the blog I thought it would be an enormous treasure to meet them. If I can provide a grain of sand to help them along the way, even better."

To finance the trip, the family used their savings and raised money on a crowdfunding site.

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22. He'll visit New York before spending two days in Philadelphia the weekend of September 26.

-Reporting by the Associated Press

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