Brother Christopher, MIC
At the Festival of Fami-
lies in Philadelphia, it was
what I’ve been waiting for
the whole time, just that
I just wanted Pope Fran-
cis to keep going. The message he had
was so powerful, especially knowing the
authority he speaks with. His insight on
the family is such a good reminder. It’s so
powerful for the times we’re living in.Father Angelo Casimiro, MIC
After having seen Pope Francis in Washington,
D.C., I went to see him when in Philadelphia to
officially cap off the World Meeting of Families.
What made the weekend even more special
was concelebrating with him at the papal Mass
on Sunday, Sept. 27, which also happened to
be my birthday. Thank you, Pope Francis, for
renewing me in my faith, restoring my hope in Christ and
the Church, and reawakening the Holy Spirit within me.
You truly have a deep love and compassion for every single
individual. I pray I may have the same love of Christ for
others, especially in my priesthood.
what’s changed from his predecessors to Pope Francis?
Quite simply, the same, perennial message is finally
getting through to many people it apparently hadn’t
reached before. To understand this, look at the three
recent Holy Fathers. Saint John Paul II
reached a cer-
tain set of people and made many converts through his
tremendous charisma and presence in his youth, and
through his witness of holy suffering toward the end of
his life.Pope Benedict XVI
reached a certain set of peo-
ple with the clarity, brilliance, and
immense scope of his intellectual
work, presented with humility and
in love. Pope Francis
ly blessed with the gift of reaching a
certain set of contemporary people
through gestures, leading them to
listen to his words.
Mercy: modeled and preached
On this visit, as throughout his pontificate,
Francis led with the heart of the Gospel: the mercy of
God. Everything else depends on that mercy, for without
it, we have no chance. Without Divine Mercy, we do
not have Jesus Christ Incarnate. Without Divine Mercy,
the morality taught by the Church is impossible to live.
So the Holy Father leads with mercy, as Jesus told
priests to do through St. Faustina (seeDiary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1
521), and the hearts of so
many are touched. It is our job to nurture the seeds
sown through our own holiness, through prayer and
works of mercy, such as evangelization and catechesis.
Many of those seeds sown were spread in the simplest
of ways, as people in the crowds attested.
“He caught me with his smile,” said Joan Giombetti,
standing on the Independence Mall in Philadelphia with
her husband and son, both named Peter. “It touched
my heart, and then I listened to his message … the
Golden Rule. That’s what life is about.”
Cynthia Jaramillo, a parishioner in Holy Family
Parish in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said she’d
been touched by the Holy Father’s preaching.
“I would really hope to see that youth especially
gets excited about the Church, about Catholicism,
about serving,” she said of her hopes for the fruits of
the papal visit.
Among those standing in the
crowd were immigrants f
where the Church is being actively
persecuted, including Eritrea and
China. They served as a poignant
reminder of one of the great themes
of the Holy Father: that of “encountering” and welcom-
ing the stranger in our midst, whether that stranger
be the unborn child, the immigrants and refugees, the
homeless and the poor, or the aging person on their
way home to God.
It was a triumph of a visit. Mercy was modeled, and
mercy was preached. We have had our way forward
indicated by the Holy Father, especially through the
models of the saints of the U.S., such as the newly
canonized St. Junipero Serra, as well as St. Katharine Drexel and St. John Neumann
of Philadelphia, and
the four great Americans he focused on in his speech
to Congress: President Abraham Lincoln, the Rev.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and
Let us dedicate ourselves to learning from the
teachings of the Holy Father and, like him, ever
rededicate ourselves to sharing the joy of the Gospel
with all the world.
for our full coverage on Pope
Francis’ U.S. visit.