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Prayer for the Popaclypse...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Most of us know that DC, New York, and Philadelphia are likely to evolve into overpopulated bedlam this week for the Pope’s historic visit to the US and to Cuba. Many of us will be staying far, far away from these cities. Some of us are heading right into the mouths of the hydrae.

Many of us Catholics will be staying home, enjoying the festivities from afar via our favorite social media channels. Many will post up in front of their televisions on couches, dressed in pajamas or sweatpants, like some eager Summer Olympics watchers. Some of us are likely staying up-to-date every minute of every hour on who is saying what about the Pope when. Some of us do this for a living, after all.

Some Catholics may even be calling out of work (now that is un-American!). Many will be making the tangible trip to one of these three blessed East Coast cities. We will be braving strained transportation networks, overdone security precautions, and likely, some fear and loathing. Many will be pilgrims. Many adventurers. Some public. Some press. Some security detail. Some clean-up crew. Many vacationers. Many workers. There will likely be some mess. And, some stress.

I encourage us all to say (at least one) prayer. Both for the some and for the many. If you have many friends or family who reside in these regions, please pray for them and their patience. If you know some making the trek for business or for pleasure, please pray for their conscientiousness and courtesy. If you know many Catholics, pray for their joy and continued positive attitudes. If you know some social media gurus, pray they keep the conversation civil and encouraging for all.

Let us pray for the District of Columbia and for the recent canonization of the Franciscan Saint Junipero. Let us pray for our nation’s leaders, and their missed lunches. Let us pray for New York City. Let us pray for raised awareness of changes facing our climate and the world’s diverse peoples. Let us pray for the world’s leaders. Let us pray for Philadelphia and for the world’s families, especially those in America. Let us pray for the world’s poor, and for those poor in spirit on social media. Let us pray for our leaders in our myriad communities.

Peace and Good on the road to Philadelphia.


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Methods of Travel—Part One...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

“In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”
—Pope Francis

In planning my trip to Philadelphia these past few weeks, I was overcome with nostalgia for travel as a child. I recall not having to plan, not packing my own bags, not even thinking about my next meal. Mom and Dad would take care of all the devilish details. I could just sit in the backseat with the Prydain Chronicles and let them know when my stomach grumbled as we passed the ever-present Cracker Barrel signs. I wouldn’t even have to worry about myself or the animals getting car sick. Mom would give us our obligatory Dramamine dose. We would nap when we felt unnatural waves coming through the icy gray mountain roads of Tennessee, or sooner.

During this planning, I realized how incredible a gift that was our parents gave us as children. We could really enjoy the good parts of travel—the experiences, the vistas and landscapes, the short little forays into alien lands at rest stops, the smell of different trees burning in different fireplaces, the way rain felt different in Illinois then it did in South Carolina, the different Happy Meal toys found in the same boxes around the country. Are we able to slow down any longer and enjoy these little details of travel? Do we stop to savor small moments anymore? Or do we plan out every possible detail of our trips?

As intensive as my own planning might have been, I cannot even imagine the extent to which Pope Francis’ trip is planned. There must be a small army of people whose sole purpose is to plan for any imaginable contingency, to have backup plans, alternate routes, maps within maps. And that doesn’t even account for the security or transit concerns in large American metropolitan areas like the District of Columbia, New York City, or Philadelphia. Though I will get to reap the benefits of their thinking and caution in Philadelphia, I wonder, too, how much say Pope Francis himself has in such matters. What if the pope wants to stop at Tommy DiNic’s for a roast pork and broccoli rabe sandwich at the world-famous Reading Terminal Market? Does he have the option for such small pleasures?

Read more tomorrow in Part II…


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Pope Francis in Washington, DC – Day 1...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A Pope, A Saint, and a President

No, this is not the beginning of a joke. It’s actually a summary of Pope Francis’s first full day in Washington, DC. The first stop on his schedule was a visit to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama. But, as it turns out, the pope actually started his day in his usual off-the-script manner.

As he prepared to leave the Vatican embassy, the pope made a quick stop to greet students of local Catholic schools who have been marking his departures and arrivals at the embassy. After making his way down the row, greeting each student, Pope Francis finally got in to a Fiat. The dichotomy wasn’t lost on those present, some of whom referred to the pope as “the big man in the small car.”

At the White House, Pope Francis began his address, saying, “As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.” He went on to hit on the topics of climate change, religious freedom, and our need to care for the least among us, invoking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

After his meeting with President Obama, the pope traveled to Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle for midday prayer with the US bishops. The pope reminded the bishops to “flee the temptation of narcissism” and that “harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor.” Encounter and dialogue, he said, must be the hallmarks of a bishop’s interactions with others, especially with those who hold differing opinions.

The day culminated in the canonization Mass for Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra (a gathering outside the Mass is pictured above), the first saint canonized on US soil. During his homily, Pope Francis noted that Serra’s motto, “always forward, never to turn back,” is a challenge all Catholics should heed. The pope urged those present to “keep moving forward!”

Notable Quotes from Day 1

Address at the White House

“Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions.”

Homily at the canonization of Junipero Serra

“The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.”

The Crowd Reaction from Day 1

The air in D.C. was abuzz with anticipation surrounding Pope Francis’s arrival, but there was especially an overwhelming feeling of excitement for those waiting to see the pope at the canonization of Junipero Serra.

The White House address received a tremendous amount of coverage. There were many takeaways from his speech, particularly about climate change and quoting Dr. King.

Perhaps the most touching story from day one was that of little Sofía Cruz, 5, of Los Angeles, who went out in the street to give the pope a letter about her family and the issue of immigration. It goes to show that even the smallest can impact this world.

Pope Francis in Washington D.C.

The post Pope Francis in Washington, DC – Day 1 appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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Pope Francis on Divorce and Remarriage...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

During his August 5 general audience, Pope Francis addressed the issue of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, saying they “are not, in fact, excommunicated—they are not excommunicated—and they absolutely must not be treated as if they were,” reported Catholic News Service (CNS).

In his first general audience since June, the pope resumed his talks addressing various issues facing families, saying, “Today, I want to draw our attention to another reality: how to care for those who, after the irreversible failure of the matrimonial bond, have undertaken a new union.”

According to Church teaching, in most cases such couples are not permitted to receive Communion. But bishops at the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family last October and preparing for the general synod October 4-25 have been studying and discussing possibilities for allowing some of these couples to return to the sacraments.

“How can we tell these parents to do everything possible to raise their children in the Christian life, giving them the example of a convinced and lived faith, if we keep them at a distance from the life of the community as if they were excommunicated?“ the pope asked.

As the studies and discernment continue, Pope Francis said, it is essential that Catholic pastors “openly and coherently demonstrate the willingness of the community to welcome and encourage” divorced and remarried couples and their families to participate in Church life.

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.51dnUgKdvKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Featured photo: KavaStudio2015 / Shutterstock

The post Pope Francis on Divorce and Remarriage appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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Pope Francis’ Love for Mother Earth...

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Tomorrow, Pope Francis will address the United Nations at their headquarters in New York City. The significance of this address cannot be understated. Personally, I’ve been looking forward to his UN speech (and his visit to the United States, as a whole) with bated breath. From the moment it was announced that the pope would visit our nation, excitement has grown exponentially among both Catholic and non-Catholic Americans alike.

Then there was the release of the pope’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. With the meetings he’s had with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about environmental initiatives, it’s clear that care for God’s creation is crucial to the Holy Father.

If it’s important to the leader of our Church, shouldn’t it be important to each of us in our daily lives? Some have tried to politicize the pope’s environmental concerns, suggesting that he stick to theology and priestly duties. However, Pope Francis has made it clear that taking care of our world is not a political act, but rather an act of love.

Nature truly is lovable. My family has been going to northern Ontario to a cabin on a lake since before I was born. I grew up making summer trips there with the whole raucous Imwalle family, and celebrated every Christmas there until I was 19. I know what it is to love a place because nature flourishes there. And I can’t imagine seeing that nature suffer because of humanity’s negligence and mistreatment of our planet.

Some might say I’m “catastrophizing,” that I probably won’t see the kind of environmental devastation I fear in my lifetime. Perhaps. But it’s not just about me, my generation, and my hope to be able to enjoy nature the way God intended (and this is coming from a member of the supposedly self-centered Millennial generation!). Truly, future generations deserve to be able to take a walk in the woods, bask in the glory of God’s creation, and have hope and confidence that it will be there as long as it’s protected.

Someday, I hope people look back at Pope Francis’ steadfast care for our planet, and name it as one of many reasons to proclaim him a saint. For now, we have the pleasure of listening to him.

Follow me at @StAnthonyMag for more coverage of Pope Francis’ in New York City!

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.



Photo: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."