Emily Guendelsberger

Rybread • 11 a.m.

Fairmount Avenue is missing its Sunday brunch contingent. Those who still have a yen for eggs Benedict and strong coffee navigate the metal fences and concrete barriers to get to the restaurants. The employees at Rybread, operating from underneath its storefront awning, didn’t sell breakfast items on Saturday, but they changed tactics this morning.

“Business was so bad that we transitioned to offering egg sandwiches today because of demand,” owner Ryan Pollock says. It’s having some effect: There are couples and small groups at the handful of sidewalk tables they have set up.

But a crowd like this won’t offset the impact the week has had on Pollock’s bottom line. “It’s going to be negative,” he says resignedly. Barricades on Fairmount went up on Tuesday, and he’s lost business ever since. Rybread’s more expensive offerings haven’t been the quickest-moving, either. “A lot of people have been buying coffee.” —Jenn Ladd

The Parkway near 24th Street • 12:15 p.m.

Most people in the “1” section have been staking out their spots in the front of the ticketed area since at least 7 a.m. Some showed up to wait in empty security queues until the Parkway opened at 6 a.m. It’s a choice position — unlike nearly everywhere else, it has a distant but unobstructed view of the huge golden crucifix and the altar on which Pope Francis will say Mass this afternoon.

Five hours into their wait, though, hundreds of pilgrims break into loud boos and shouts of dismay as a huge white tent rises directly in their line of sight. Determined, angry chants of “TAKE DOWN THE TENT!” and “MOVE THAT TENT!” break out as the acts onstage try to perform. Even a couple young nuns in habits join in the fist-pumping protest until shushed by an older nun.

Fran Y Soto, a 32-year-old graduate student, traveled here from Mexico City. “There is people here since 4 a.m., making the whole trip from many places,” she says. “They just put a tent exactly where you can see the pope. We really need someone telling the pope to take that down so we can see him, not only by the screens.”

“I hope this ain’t a VIP thing,” says Carlos Olmo, 58, of Levittown. “We’re all supposed to be family, we’re all supposed to be equal. … If I was going to watch the projection, I would have stayed home, I could have watched it on my TV.”

The suspicion that the tent is for VIPs is unsubstantiated but widespread. “This is the Mass,” says Y Soto. “This is not about privilege. He’s a really humble person; this is not something he might like.” (It actually was cover for the orchestra in case of rain.)

The chanting continues intermittently for an hour as performers onstage attempt to carry on. At 1:25 p.m., a man standing nearby, citing a call from a nephew in the mayor’s office, spreads the word that the tent will be down before the Mass starts. And indeed, at 1:30 p.m., it begins to come down, the huge golden cross slowly coming back into view.

The crowd goes insane, former strangers hugging and high-fiving. After a bit, they unite in another chant: “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” —Emily Guendelsberger

Fergie’s Pub • 1:10 p.m.

Fergus Carey emerges from the basement of his Sansom Street pub for a quick interview. The owner of Monk’s Café, Grace Tavern and Belgian Café, Carey says that the city’s restaurants just had to take one for the team this weekend.

One need not look far for proof: There are a mere three patrons in Fergie’s at this hour. But the couple from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., finishing up lunch doesn’t mind the lack of company.

“We’re happy to support a bar that’s empty,” says Jason Hughes, who surprised his husband with plane tickets to Philly for the papal visit. “We wanted to see what this event was all about, and for my husband it’s a pilgrimage.”

Husband Ryan Spring is a Mass-going Catholic — “I go for the blessing. I’m not really there for all the unnecessary tradition,” he says — and he and Hughes saw Pope John Paul II in Toronto in 2002 and visited the Vatican during Pope Benedict’s eight-year papacy.

But Pope Francis clearly is different. “Best pope ever!” Spring exclaims. “I love him. His message is an all-inclusive message, and for us that makes a lot of sense.”

“You have to meet people halfway sometimes,” Hughes says. “And I think he’s met us, our relationship, halfway, which is better than no way. So sometimes you can reward that message with attendance.”

The pair is preparing to brave the lines for Mass. “I mean, we have to,” Spring says. But it’s not a completely dry affair.

“Actually we’re going to drink our way to the pope,” Hughes says. —Jenn Ladd

The Norway flag on the Parkway • 3:15 p.m.

Before the Mass, Pope Francis stands up in his vehicle as it glides down the Parkway’s outer ring. The crowd is on its feet, cheering, cameras are raised, babies held aloft. The video feed on Jumbotrons follows along every inch of the way.

The Popemobile passes the grotto, and then suddenly stops. He gets out and blesses the grotto and its prayers. Project HOME’s Will O’Brien, who is standing there, says the pope embraced Sister Mary Scullion in a “very moving and powerful” way.

“He was very quiet, though he told Sister Mary to pray for him,” O’Brien says.

“The pope was holding a card with a copy of the Our Lady Undoer of Knots as he stood there, and I pointed so he could see our large reproduction as part of the whole installation. He closed his eyes and seemed to pray very deeply for about half a minute.”

The pope is handed a gift, a stole woven with pieces of hand-spun yarn that was knotted by the homeless, prisoners and others on the margins of society. Two journals of their prayers are given to him, too.

Meanwhile, the Parkway crowd is going nuts, standing and applauding the pope’s blessing of their prayers. Was it chance or divine intervention that at that very moment a choir on the stage was singing “Alleluia”? —Lillian Swanson

Broad and Pine streets • 3:50 p.m.

A crowd bigger than any of the ones I’ve seen turn out for Christmas Mass is gathered before a Jumbotron. Mostly they’re seated on the asphalt, cross-legged. I work my way to the back — no pews to contend with, just port-a-potties and people loitering. A man with a cardboard miter and a staff made from a tinfoil-wrapped PVC pipe poses for pictures. Mass begins. An ambulance sounds suddenly at our backs and drives slowly up the street, momentarily displacing the faithful. I head north.

The final quarter of the Eagles-Jets game plays out on all eight flat-screens in Locust Rendezvous, which claims the biggest crowd I’ve seen in a bar all weekend. Still, I have my choice of barstools. I pick one next to an AT&T rep who’s spent the weekend in the Apple Store. He and the bartender get into a conversation about business, and she says it’s been the worst weekend for restaurants and bars all over the city. The media coverage spooked everyone, she says.

The game ends, and Pope Francis appears in green vestments on the TVs. The bartender says, “We don’t want to listen to this, right? I can’t listen to this.” Mass is muted. A woman approaches the bar and says her party is leaving in 15 minutes, but could the bartender put the Mass back on for now?

The bartender grimaces just a bit and balks. “Eh, Mass … in a bar?” The woman, dejected, returns to her seat. The bartender finds a remote, goes over to the appropriate screen and puts on closed captioning. —Jenn Ladd

Show & Tel • 4:30 p.m.

It’s not easy to find boobs when the pope’s in town.

But that is my assignment. I start out at the World Famous Gold Club at 15th and Chancellor — world-famous, partly, for its connection to the phrase “Josh Duggar cheated with me!” The hours on the door say they should be open, but the place is locked up tight.

Next stop is Penn’s Port Pub on Delaware Avenue. Despite the flashing LEDs around the door and the words “open Sundays” scrolling across a screen, this place is also closed.

So here I am, 100 feet away at Show & Tel. Why not “Tell”? No idea. The door is mercifully unlocked. But the “strip club” side of things is closed, and always is at this time of day, the guy at the cash register tells me. He’s here in case somebody comes in to buy lingerie or dildos or porn, but there’s nobody here. A smiling woman pops in to tell me she’s “one of the girls in the back” available for a private show, then disappears.

The guy at the cash register does not want to talk to me.

“Has it been busy today?” I ask.

“No,” he says.

“What about yesterday?”

“I wasn’t here.”

“But it’s been slow?”

“Yes, we expected it. It’s not like the Navy is in town.”

“Then you’d be —”

“We’d be busy.”

I wander around in the back. Lots of walk-in closet-sized rooms, most with the doors open. I see no one. I hear nothing. I leave. —Patrick Rapa

21st Street near Race Street • 5 p.m.

On the Parkway, the Mass is in full swing and communion is about to begin. But a few blocks away, at the security checkpoint for those with Mass tickets, there is still a huge bottleneck. Thousands of people are waiting to get through, stuck in lines that reach from curb to curb.

My own feet-hurting, 90-minute wait earlier in the day turned out to be nothing compared to this.

“I entered the line at 1:12 p.m. today,” says Cathy Morris of Northeast Philly, noting the four-hour wait. “It’s a disgrace,” she says. “They needed more TSA. They needed more checkpoints. I feel horrible they did this to us.”

I can feel her disappointment as well as her anger, but there’s nothing I can say to make things better. So I reach into my purse and pull out a small, white booklet.

“Here, this is the Mass program. You keep it,” I tell her, and walk away.

Further away, down 21st Street, someone has brought their flat-screen TV out onto their front stoop. A crowd of about 30 people is gathered around it, following the Mass on the small screen. At one point, a few of the spectators kneel on the hard street to pray. —Lillian Swanson

Delaware Avenue near Snyder • 5:30 p.m.

John is sitting on a wooden shipping palette, working on his sign. So far it says “Homeless & Starving. Growing Hopeless” in black marker on brown cardboard. There’s room for two more lines. He takes a break to talk to me and roll himself a cig from the remains of discarded butts he keeps in a plastic bag.

He’s been in the hospital four times in the last seven days, he says. Three times to deal with a staph infection; the last time because he was poisoned.

“A ‘good Samaritan’ gave me some poison food.”

“You think it was poisoned on purpose, or just bad?”

“Poisoned on purpose.”

“What kind of food did they give you?”

“Sandwich from Arby’s. It wasn’t even like 10, 15 minutes later, I was just vomiting.”

“That’s fuckin’ awful.”

“Yeah, I thought I was gonna fuckin’ die.”

Winter’s coming, but John’s staying in the area. The plan is to get a job, get his life on track and try to get back in his son’s life. The kid’s 5 and lives in Jersey with his mom. “I don’t want to end up a few states away, then get a job and have to plant myself there,” says John. Ideally he’d like to get back into construction or some sort of trade job, but right now he’d settle for sweeping up for minimum wage. He’ll sleep behind a Dunkin’ Donuts later tonight.

“I was sleeping up toward South Street, but the cops are just coming in at all hours of the night. Every place that I try to lay my head I’ve been kicked out,” he says. He chalks up the crackdown somewhat to the usual and somewhat to the pope preparations. “Up the road a little bit, next to the Comcast building, there was what was called a tent city, it was back in the woods. If you weren’t looking for it, you didn’t know it was there. They came through one morning and bulldozed the whole thing.”

What about shelters?

“Any time I’ve ever been in one, I’ve been robbed or I’ve gotten bugs. They’re just — it’s not what you see in the news or in the movies and whatnot. Obviously the idea of it is good, but the reality of it is they’re not the best of places. If we were going through a cold fluke, yeah, it would be the best thing. But if I don’t have to be in one I’d rather be out here.”

John gently scoops up a large, bright-green praying mantis and lets it walk over his palms, up his arm, down his leg.

I ask him what he’d say to the pope if he could.

“You know, I actually legitly thought about that —  if I were to have any chance to talk to him. I couldn’t really pinpoint anything. There’s just too much. The pope may be a man of God but he’s only one person,” he shrugs. “Maybe make sure there’s better resources so the people who actually don’t want to be homeless can get up out of the hole.” —Patrick Rapa