Austin man travels to see Pope Francis

FOX 7 will be inside of Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso where Pope Francis' mass will be simulcast for the tens of thousands who won't be making the trek across the border to Juarez.

We are a stone's throw away from Juarez, the city where Jorge Nunez's parents immigrated from when they came to America decades ago. Because it's become so dangerous, they haven't been back for quite some time and he hopes Pope Francis' visit will change that.

"I'm about to head out to El Paso, leaving my house in Austin." Nunez said. "Very excited."

It's the kind of homecoming he never dreamed he'd make. The 26-year-old is just hours away from crossing the border into Juarez. So he will be making that trek with her early Wednesday morning.

"The church I grew up in, they got a few tickets and they were raffling them and my mom was able to get two tickets," Nunez said. "It's been a while since we both crossed at the same time. We crossed the border growing up we would get away to Juarez and visit but once the violence started - back in 2007-2009 we stopped coming," he said.

His mother and father became U.S. citizens nearly four decades ago but this fence still separates him from other family members in Juarez who weren't so lucky.

"I have family too in Mexico that can't cross so we are the ones who have to go back and forth to keep that relationship," Nunez said.

A relationship that many who have loved ones on the other side of this bridge know all too well.

"I'm excited about this because Pope Francis is coming with a message of hope, of courage, of mercy," he said.

Early last year, Pope Francis said he hoped to come to the us through Mexico. While he won't be doing that on this trip, he will come close. He will walk to this fence and pray with people on both sides.

"By doing that exactly, touching the fence, being able to touch the people as well, that's going to send a powerful message," Nunez said.

One that Nunez prays that after this mass may become embedded into the fabric of his life as he is considering becoming a priest.

"Pope Francis is the leader of our church, he is the vicar of St. Peter, if he is not scared, why should I be?" he said.

Pope Francis continues to make his way through Mexico and preparations are underway for his final stop in Juarez. Although the Pontiff won't be crossing the border into the United States, tens of thousands are expected to head to El Paso where the mass will be broadcast live at Sun Bowl Stadium.

The excitement is building in El Paso. The roads around the border and the border crossings  will be shut down during the mass. There was some thought to allow people to stand along the El Paso side of the border to get a glimpse of the Pope's motorcade but it's a small area and it's too dangerous to pack all of those people in there. That's why the event at the Sun Bowl has being organized. 

Before the Pope heads over to the stadium in Juarez, he will travel to the fence that separates our country from Mexico. He will pray at that fence for the thousands who have lost their lives while trying to cross into the U.S. Just a few feet away, there will be several hundred people, including immigrants, who will pray with him.

The "Two Nations, One Faith" event is expected to be packed  and we are hearing about 30,000 to 40,000 people have tickets. There are about 55,000 seats at the Sun Bowl so there are some tickets left.

Doors will open at noon, El Paso time, and in the run up to the Pope's mass. About a thousand people are expected to participate in a program that includes the dancing and singing.

The Pope will get a glimpse at the crowd here while he is celebrating mass in Juarez as he will have a monitor on the altar and he's expected to bless the crowd here in El Paso. Before he heads over to the stadium in Juarez, he will travel to the fence that separates our country from Mexico.


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