Philadelphia area camps hosting pilgrims for papal visit

Hundreds of pilgrims arriving in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’s visit this weekend are staying over in camp cabins at area summer camps.

Camp Green Lane in Green Lane, Pa., Camp Saginaw in Oxford, Pa., and YMCA Camp Ockanickon in Medford, N.J., are all hosting groups from around the country as part of the “Cabin Camp Pilgrimage Package” offered by the company Philadelphia Pilgrimage, LLC.

Camp Green Lane director/owner Jay Freedman said Philadelphia Pilgrimage owner Damian Wargo first contacted him about renting the camp two years ago. The traditional overnight camp about 40 minutes from Center City (without traffic) is hosting a group of 500 hailing from Florida, Wisconsin, California, Ohio and the D.C./Maryland area, Freedman said.

While hosting large rentals is nothing new for Green Lane, the event does make it unique.

“There really hasn’t been a Philadelphia event like this,” he said, noting that unlike most large rentals the group is leaving after breakfast to attend the conference and other events and returning for dinner.

Getting to the city will require a bus ride to a nearby train station and another bus ride from the station in the city.

Pilgrims staying at Camp Saginaw include a group of 55 University of Illinois students. The group plans to wear bright orange “Catholic Illini” t-shirts to the festivities, according to a Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette article.

A contingent from Xavier High School in Iowa are embarking on their journey today to join those staying at Camp Ockanickon. Ockanickon is located a half-hour east of the city under normal traffic conditions.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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