Vicksburg family recounts papal visit

Published 12:41 am Saturday, October 3, 2015

Vicksburg resident Dolores Coomes experienced her second once-in-a-lifetime opportunity last week as she attended a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.

The 84-year-old great-grandmother traveled with her son and daughter-in-law to Philadelphia, Pa., where they saw the pope a number of times, coming within 15 feet of him.

“It was a blessed, joyful amazing trip. It was really a dream come true,” Coomes said.

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It was Coomes second chance to see a pope. In 1987 she traveled to New Orleans to see Pope John Paul II. The trip was a gift from her family, Coomes said.

“When I very first read about it months and months ago, I told my husband we have got to take grandma to do this. This would be so special to her. This trip was all about her,” said her daughter-in-law, Janet Coomes.

Delores Coomes said the trip to Philadelphia was the next best thing to a trip to the Vatican.

“I didn’t get to go to Rome, but I did get to have a dream come true. The Holy Spirit was in our midst. It really was a dream come true,”Coomes said.

Delores Coomes has been a parishioner of St. Michael Catholic Church on Fisher Ferry Road “ever since it was built. I’m probably one of the oldest members out there.” She’s also a frequent letter writer to popes and has correspondence from the offices of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

The trip to Philadelphia had an amazing feeling of unity, members of the family said.

“It was just like the whole city of Philadelphia was praying. It was such an amazing feeling,” Delores Coomes said.

“It was just a peaceful feeling,” Ken Coomes said.

During the trip to the United States, Pope Francis addressed many issues. He met with a joint session of Congress, victims of child sexual abuse, ate lunch with the homeless and attended the World Meeting on Families.

“I rally think Pope Francis’ visit here will really make a difference in the world,” Delores Coomes said.