July 28, 2015
A North Jersey church group has chosen the Philadelphia Zoo as its accommodation for the papal visit in September, NBC10 reports.
More than 200 parents and children from the church will sleep on the floor of the Philly Zoo buildings housing the bird and insect exhibits.
“The zoo makes it a little more down to earth because it’s more like a pilgrimage,” Melissa Peters, a congregant at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood, Bergen County, told NBC10. “We’re not gonna be staying in a hotel room where we have showers or where we have continental breakfasts and things like that. Instead we’re sleeping with animals in order to see the pope.”
Church leaders say Pope Francis was named for Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals. They plan on publicizing their unique accommodations on Instagram and Twitter in the hopes that Pope Francis will take notice.
Each member will pay $120 for the overnight stay at the zoo and the bus ride.
Philadelphia Zoo officials said they’re completely sold out.