Category Archives: On the Street

Pope Francis is coming!

If you live in Philadelphia these days, the timing of things is described as either “before the Pope” or “after the Pope.” Because during Pope Francis’ two-day visit to the City for the World Meeting of Families, no one is going anywhere!

The local media has carried hourly stories about the logistics involved in playing host to the 1.5 million expected visitors to the citiy. Homeland Security and the Secret Service are frequently mentioned in updates.

I was curious to know what people who live in Philadelphia think of the upcoming visit. Here is a sampling of what I heard.

First responder: What would you do?

building collapse

When a four-story building on Market Street collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift shop recently, we heard stories of bystanders, including an 18-year-old student at Science Leadership Academy, rushing to the rescue of the people trapped inside the building. Hearing their stories made me wonder what I would do in such a situation.

So I decided to ask people what they imagined their first impulse might be if faced with the choice. How would they respond? Many of the people I interviewed were at 30th Street Station, waiting for an outbound train. Here is what I heard.

Photo: Associated Press

Making time at 30th Street Station

IMG_2865Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is a place where we like to hang out. On our most recent visit we met David, who described being arrested and handcuffed at JFK Airport for an unpaid parking ticket. Brenda told us how piecing together a knitted blanket is a metaphor for the work of her church in Southwest Pennsylvania. And we met Amir, who is one helluva smart guy with a special gift.

Listen in on our conversation with Amir.


“Ashes to Go”

A crew from St. Martin’s Church spent Ash Wednesday morning at the Chestnut Hill West train station as part of a “Ashes to Go” — a way to give busy commuters a way to observe this holy day for Christians.

While Rector Jarrett Kerbel and parishioner Taylor Anderson met passengers on the train platform, priest Callie Swanlund walked up to Germantown Avenue to greet people waiting for the #23 bus.

Listen to their conversations.