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'You're Crazy,' Pope Tells Family Who Drove 13,000 Miles to See Him

by Tim Stelloh /  / Updated 

They drove all the way from Argentina to see their beloved pope.

But once Catire Walker, his wife, Noel Zemborain, and their four children met with Francis early Sunday in Philadelphia, their hero seemed bewildered.

"You are the family that drove all the way from Buenos Aires?" the family quoted the pope as saying in a description of the meeting on Facebook. "You are crazy."

 The Walker family in Mexico City last month on their way to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis. Marco Ugarte / AP — file

The family, who made the 13,000-mile trip in a Volkswagen van they nicknamed "Francisca," set off in March.

"The essence of this is to make a family trip," Zemborain told The Associated Press in August, after they arrived in Mexico. "We're staying in families' homes. We're meeting people in the different places we pass through."

In the Facebook post, the family said confirmation of a meeting with Francis came at 6 a.m. Sunday.

"We all ran from one place to another in complete chaos," the post says. "We arrived flying without believing what was happening to us."

After the pope told family members that they were crazy and gave them a group hug, the post says, he was a tad more enthusiastic about their trip.

"This is very important," the post says, quoting the pope. "A young family who has the courage to go out [in a van] and live life with joy."

"Thanks for coming," Francis said, according to the post. "We replied 'Thank you for inspiring us to go out and make a little mess.'"

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