A Papal Visit

By now it has escaped no one’s notice that Pope Francis arrived in the United States yesterday. Perhaps you’ve seen the video of his arrival and greeting by President Obama on the tarmac. (You can find it here.)

The Pope’s six-day visit is packed, with activities ranging from an address to Congress (the first time a Pope has given a speech to Congress), the canonization Mass of Junipero Serra, a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center, and a visit to a correctional facility. (You can find the full schedule here.)

First and foremost, the Pope is a spiritual leader, and this visit is an exciting one for Catholics. But it will be worthwhile for everyone to listen to what the Pope says during his visit. As has been the case from the beginning of his papacy, this is a Pope who challenges all of us – left or right, Republican or Democrat, Catholics of all stripes, all Christians, indeed, all “people of good will.”

Some will be ready to criticize whatever the Pope says – whether it is about climate change, the economy, or anything else. Others will criticize things he doesn’t say, such as those who think he should change the Church’s position on issues like contraception or women’s ordination.

My encouragement is to listen and reflect on his words, whether they are spoken at a Mass homily or before Congress. And find a forum for discussion of his message. For example the Church closest to where I live will host a Thursday evening gathering where people listen to a tape of the address before Congress and then discuss. The Church at which I direct RCIA will have a program between Masses on Sunday to discuss the themes of Pope Francis’ papacy. Whatever the venue you find – let the first step be listening and reflecting.

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3 thoughts on “A Papal Visit

  1. For the declared most exceptional (immigrant) nation on earth (USA) professed to have been founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs that in 2008 began plotting it’s 2010 insurrection and began unfurling the ‘serpents’ (Don’t Tread on Me) and many others of it’s founder’s banners marshalling forces to ‘take back our nation’ – and intent on clashing more frequently and more fervently with their most despised ‘Civil’ enemy the proclaimed ‘Idolaters’ who preach a woman’s body is a temple unto self – which of those Judeo-Christian beliefs do the congressional ‘shepherds’ (as Pope Francis describes) of both sides of their political ‘Civil War’ follow?

    Such a ‘Shining City on a Hill’ have we become – so proudly living up to Lady Liberty’s creed,

    “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, the wretched refuse of your teaming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

    “Thy Kingdom Come?” How much longer must the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Heaven, and on earth, wait?

    May Pope Francis’ words this morning, from within the walls of the congressional ‘temple,’ not fall on deaf ears and hearts of stone. . .

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