Now for something completely different:
Nearly one month after Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Philadelphia, more than 5,000 of the 6-inch by 6-inch squares of white, gold and gray carpet used during the papal Mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway have been given out as souvenirs. Crews from Hunterdon County’s Flemington Department Store were onsite at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and stages for the World Meeting of Families installing grey linoleum and 10,000-square-feet of carpet. Requests have come in from California, Texas, Oklahoma, Australia, England, Germany, Ireland and even the island of Saipan, store owner Ted Resnick said, adding they still have squares to spare. Some people were there in person, some people watched every moment of it on TV,” said Flemington Department Store Web Coordinator Joanne Adler. Handling requests has been her life for the past three weeks, Adler said, but the undertaking of stuffing envelopes and answering emails gives her and everyone at the store joy. “They’re so excited, I try to keep that in perspective. People are very gracious. They send magnets and cards they made to say thank you and bless everyone that works here,” she said. Many of the requests come from people in need to some kind of hope, and while most who want squares are Catholic, there are people of all faiths who like Pope Francis and his message Adler said. “One woman, she has a son sick with something terrible and she wanted a piece to put under his pillow… She said it’s silly, but it’s not silly at all if it gives people comfort,” she said.