09 Mar Pope Francis: Making God’s Love Known
For the past two weekends, I’ve been in a retreat-like atmosphere just outside Philadelphia’s Center City. I say “retreat-like” only because it was at a seminary, where one can get lost among beautiful paintings — reminders of the contributions Christianity has made to lifting up souls and civilization; we began with Mass; and everyone was focused on opening doors and healing wounds.
Gathered were volunteers wanting to be part of the welcoming committee not just for Pope Francis when he visits the City of Brotherly Love in the fall, but also for the media who will be covering the event. The pope will be coming to join the World Meeting of Families at the convention center here in Philadelphia, and he will be addressing the United Nations and the U.S. Congress, among other things, while he is here in the States. I can’t tell you how excited Philadelphia Catholics are. It’s no surprise, of course. Have you seen the numbers? Two years into his pontificate as of this coming Friday, Pew has him rating high not just among church-going Catholics but among the population at large (seven in ten American adults view him “favorably”).
But the gratitude the people of Philadelphia feel in anticipation of his visit has nothing to do with the celebrity of their holy father. It’s the opportunities his visit represents: for renewal; for reintroduction; for witness; for a welcoming, not just to him, but to all who have been hurt by or felt isolated from the Church.