Pilgrims Speak: What Francis Meant to the Faithful in D.C.

Thousands of people flocked to Washington, D.C., on Wedndesday to witness Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States. NBC Washington spoke to people in the crowd to hear why waited in the sun to see the pontiff and what they like so much about them.

Here's what they said:

"No matter if it's seeing him for even 3 or 4 seconds, it's worth seeing him." – Gabriella Correa, Ecuador.

"It’s the pope! The pope! There’s no other way to explain it! It’s awesome." – Isshin McGraw, 13, Silver Spring, Maryland

"He's a brilliant and eloquent speaker. I can tell he was a bit nervous speaking in English since it's not his first language, but he spoke eloquently. His address to Congress was important and I hope was received well by Congress." Michael James-Deramno, Richmond, Virginia

"He's a wonderful pope. I see more similarities than differences. He's the right pope for our time." Alexandra Lajoux, Fairfax County, Virginia

"We're here to support what the pope is doing. We think the pope’s presence can have a profound impact on bringing awareness to all the environment problems. It's a critical issue for all of us and the future generations." – Ken Berlin, president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project

"I just want him to be safe. I'm worried about that here and in New York and Philadelphia." – Lillian Hasko, Montgomery County, Maryland

"I'm not even Catholic and I came to see our pope. He's so humble and he cares about the people. He really is a people person." – Esther Greene, Chantilly, Virginia

"I think the pope will touch on that poverty and pollution are the same thing and that we need to address both of these issues as one. We know what the problem is but now we need the political world to solve it. Pope Francis is able to connect both faith and science together. Having him in town, as well as the president of China, will hopefully bring major awareness to this issue." – Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president of the Hip-Hop Caucus

"He's revered as the people's pope. He's one of the most special because he's connecting with the people." – Shawn C., Hagerstown, Maryland

"He's the pope of the revolution." – Javier Cifuentes, Silver Spring, Maryland

"I love his humanity, and his empathy for the people on the fringe, for people like you and me. Whether it's gays, poor people, unwed mothers, he has such a message of forgiveness. That's what Christianity is supposed to be about." – Nancy Sheehy, Vienna, Virginia

"I'm not Catholic but I think he shines a good light on the Catholic Church. I feel like he's trying to right all the wrongs." – Shalonda B., Reston, Virginia

"I couldn't sleep last night." – Eileen Newell, Detroit, Michigan

"The inspiration that he is, the fact that he gives a practical approach to living out your faith." –Nancy Newell, Detroit, Michigan

"I saw Pope Benedict and I thought, ‘I don't want to miss my chance to see Pope Francis.’ Our faith is a beautiful thing." –Pilar Jones, Fairfax County, Virginia
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