Cross Country Coach Jo Guscott Experienced the Papal Visit

Cross Country Coach Jo Guscott Experienced the Papal Visit


Pirates girl’s cross country coach Jo Guscott took time out of her day this past Sunday to join the nearly one million people who made a pilgrimage to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis during his visit to the World Meeting of Families.

Guscott made all of her pre-trip preparations on Saturday night, making sure she had granola bars, sunglasses, a map of Center City, tissues, cash and her cell phone.


“A friend of mine from down the street, we go to the beach a couple times each summer together. She suggested I go to Philly to see the Pope. At first, I’m like, ‘No, I’m not going to see the Pope. There will be too many people and I don’t like crowds.’ She brought it up again the next time we got together and I said ‘I think I’m gonna do it.’ I should go for the experience, so I decided I should go. I was disappointed back in 1979 that I didn’t get to go see Pope John Paul II. I had just started working didn’t want to take a day off from school.”

Guscott knew she would encounter a ton of security along her trip, including with the beginning of her journey, at a Riverline stop in Pennsauken.


Aside from police officers, swat teams and secret service agents, Guscott also came across members of the National Guard who were more than willing to chat and stop for a picture with her. Guscott hadn’t even traversed the Ben Franklin Bridge yet and she had already encountered plenty of security. This was taken in Camden.


Guscott then began her walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge to visit Philadelphia.


Upon crossing the river, Guscott walked through Chinatown and Center City before hitting the Ben Franklin Parkway.

“Sitting there looking down the parkway, I couldn’t even see the arch where they were doing the mass. I was thinkin, ‘I’m happy I’m here.’ It was a great experience, it really was. Quite the mixture of people and most people were there to see the Pope.”


“It was good though. I stayed for the mass. I got my blessing. I never got to see the Pope, but it was good. I’m glad I went. It was amazing to see all those people at certain parts of the mass sit down, kneel or stand in front of jumbotrons. You could feel the whole presence, like even though they are watching it on a jumbotron, they were so into it. It was great. It really was good. I felt very secure. I felt pretty safe.”

Guscott began her return trip home not long after communion came to an end, making it back to her house before 7pm. Not bad for having to walk back over the Ben Franklin Bridge, take the Riverline back to Pennsauken and then drive home as one million people exited the city.

“After communion I left and walked over the bridge. It didn’t take long to walk. It was really neat going over the bridge both times. There were people walking dogs, running, using skateboards, bikes. It was like a holiday atmosphere.” 

Guscott offered some final thoughts on her trip:

“I would not do that for just anybody, as far as going into the crowds and walking that far, but I’ll do it for the Pope.”

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Jim is the creator and editor of Cinn City Sports. He also created At the Dish, Life With Tony and Enzo and is the owner of JAVFreelancing. He coached baseball for five years, three at his former high school (Holy Cross in Delran, NJ) and two at prominent Division III program Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He has worked for the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ; Metro Networks in Bala Cynwyd, PA; and was the play-by-play announcer for the Camden Riversharks of the Independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball for two seasons (2007-2008) on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM, the student-run radio station at Rowan University. Jim earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and minor in Journalism from Rowan University in 2008. While in school he was the Assistant Sports Director at WGLS for two years and the Sports Director for one year. He also covered the football, baseball, softball and both basketball teams for the school newspaper 'The Whit.' He is the former Sports Editor for the Cinnaminson and Moorestown Patch websites. Jim lives in New Jersey with his wife Nicole, sons Tony and Enzo and dog Phoebe. He can be reached at