Couple Married for 50 Years Given Opportunity to Greet Pope Francis

Conshohocken--(WTXF)-After five decades together a couple receives the opportunity to greet Pope Francis Upon his arrival in Philadelphia.

Montgomery County couple,John and Kathy McCarthy’s dedication to each other is getting a lot of recognition, and it’s earned them a special meeting with the Pope when he comes to Philadelphia this weekend.

"I think we were always meant to be married. That's what you keep telling me,” Kathy said of her marriage.

She was 21 and John was 24 when he proposed in his 1954 Corvette, that’s still tucked away in the garage.

"She actually proposed to me. She said, 'Where's the ring? It was a mutual agreement,'"' John joked.

They married in May of 1963 in St. Matthew Church where they are still members.

The couple also raised four children, and now have nine grandchildren ages 7 to 16.

Their secret to a long and happy relationship (besides a sense of humor)?

"I think its understanding—best friends, best friends,” Kathy said. “It wasn't perfect. It still isn't. Nothing is perfect but we both knew when we kind of got married—This was going to be it."

Kathy and Johns devotion to their marriage and their church is why they are among three couples who will greet Pope Francis at the Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul on Saturday.

"This is...this is...the word is unbelievable. Every day it gets closer I get more excited," the couple said of this opportunity.

Father Thomas Heron, the McCarthy’s priest at St. Matthew, says they were the first couple he thought of because of their love for each other and the church.

"They're down to earth, they're simple. I think they reflect the same virtues of Pope Francis, humility, hilarity- great hospitality,” Father Heron said. "It’s a great reward from God that we are going to be this close to his vicor on earth, the person in place of him on earth."

But what will the couple say to Pope Francis if they get the chance?

"It's so great to meet you, we've been waiting for you," Kathy McCarthy answered.

"I know that it will be a warm and lasting exchange. They may not be able to communicate in Spanish or English, but the contact will last forever," Father Heron says. 

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