(Part 69)


September 27, 2015

Pope Francis took America by storm. There has been no world leader—religious, political, military—quite like him. In these past 6 days, America was at a standstill, all focused on a simple old man who had neither extensive territory nor standing army. But Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ, the head of the over 1.2 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church.

Everyone was attentive to his every word, spoken to the United Nations, to the White House, to the US Congress, to the poor, to prisoners, to bishops, to seminarians, to families, to the world at large. He blessed all, kissed many babies and touched many hearts. He spoke of faith, of truth, of justice, of peace, of concern for the poor and the environment. He was Christ to us all.

A number of things made a deep impression on me. Nothing really new, but brought to a new striking reality.

  1. The richness of gifts in our Church is truly amazing. There were great Congress speakers. There were very many groups, communities, ministries, movements, etc., offering a very wide variety of pastoral resources.
  2. It is humbling for us to see that, even as we do massive work, it is very small compared to the totality of the life and mission of our Church. This is good, as it keeps us from sinful pride, and keeps us aware of our place in the big orchestra being conducted by the Holy Spirit.
  3. Evangelization is critical for the well-being of the family.
  4. The holy and apostolic Roman Catholic Church is the only hope in Jesus for the world.

The World Meeting of Families also strongly confirmed the basic elements of our CFC-FFL life and mission: (1) Evangelization, (2) Family Renewal, and (3) Work with the Poor. We move onward with greater assurance and commitment.

Goodbye, Philadelphia. See you all again in three years in Dublin, Ireland.

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