Pope to Argentine Family That Drove 1980 VW Bus: “You Are Crazy”

After 13,000 miles and 13 countries with four kids in the car, they got to meet Pope Francis.

Catire Walker (right), Noël Zemborain (center), and their four kids on Monday, September 21st after their 13,000 mile journey.

Catire Walker (right), Noël Zemborain (center), and their four kids on Monday, September 21st after their 13,000 mile journey.

Last week, we told you about Catire Walker, Noël Zemborain, and their four children, who made a six-month, 13,000-mile, 13 country trek from Argentina in a temperamental 1980 Volkswagen Kombi bus to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia. Well, their devotion paid off, because not only did they get to see Pope Francis… they actually got to meet him face-to-face.

According to an en Español post from the family on their Facebook page, América en Familia, they got a call at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning telling them that Pope Francis wanted to see them at the St. Charles Seminary in Wynnewood, where he was staying during his time in Philadelphia. When they met, he acknowledged their impressive pilgrimage, jokingly telling them, “You are crazy!”

Here’s the full Facebook post. Blame Facebook’s translation function for any Spanish-to-English weirdness:

We met the Pope!!! At 6 in the morning we received a call that the Pope was very happy to see us and that we had to go immediately to San Charles Seminary. Imagine the uproar that this causes.

We all ran from one place to another in complete chaos. We arrived flying without believing what was happening to us. In a hall they told us that the Pope would come. And after 5 minutes we were in front of him and he tells us “You are the family who traveled from Buenos Aires? You are crazy,” and laughed.

Yes we say, we also have a healthy share of unawareness like you. Big hugs. Cala clung to his waist and did no leave him.

We said that we met hundreds of families in America who love him and are praying for him. “I need prayers, this is very difficult, from this position one can do great good and great evil, pray for me.”

We did a group hug the 7 of us. We said we were so eager to greet him, and he said “when they told that you were over here, I said that I wanted to meet you, I’ve been following you, it’s great they found you.”

And in Italian (I translate) he tells one of the party: “This is very important: a young family who has the courage to go out on a Kombi and live life with joy and to the encounter of other families.”

Cala carried a rosary and asked for a blessing. We had been told that he had little time but he kept on talking with us. All very friendly and relaxed, as if he were a lifelong friend. “Thanks for coming” he said and we replied “Thank you for inspiring us to go out and make a little mess.”

And as he went he turns around and joked with a laugh “You are crazy!”. The best gift for the end of the journey of our life.


After their visit with Pope Francis, they eventually made their way to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the papal mass. Up next, they’ll drive to New York, Boston and then Florida, and then they fly back to Buenos Aires in November to get the kids ready for the next school year, which begins in February.

How cool would it be to be one of their kids when the teacher asks, “So what did you do over the break?”