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Brother Christopher, MIC


At the Festival of Fami-

lies in Philadelphia, it was

what I’ve been waiting for

the whole time, just that

off-the-cuff awesomeness.

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

seems unique-

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 visi

t, 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 (see

Diary 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 wer

e immigrants f

rom lands

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 a

s 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

Thomas Merton.

Let us dedicate ourselves to learning from the

teachings of the Holy Father and, like him, ever

rededicate ourselves to sharing th

e joy of the Gospel

with all the world.


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