By Mike DeNardo

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thousands crowded Independence Mall to see Pope Francis and hear his message on immigration and religious freedom.

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“Francisco! Francisco!”

Pope Francis got the rock star treatment from an adoring crowd at Independence Mall. Linda Robertson of Washington Township was moved as the popemobile passed by.

“Oh my God. It was overwhelming. It’s so emotional, all the little babies being passed up to him. I’m still crying!”

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One seven-year-old girl from Argentina ran out from behind the barricades, and Pope Francis embraced her. Ruiz Esquides is her father.

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“She ran to him. And the safety people were kind enough to let her get close.”

 

 

And the experience of being so close to the Holy Father proved to be life-changing for many.

Juan Alcantar of Mexico was moved just to be near the Holy Father.

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“I can’t explain what I feel. My skin — I feel something good. I’m excited. It’s something I’ll be holding in my heart for a long time.”