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Friar’s E-Spirations: Pope Francis: What a Visit!

It’s been a few weeks since Pope Francis completed his astounding visit to the United States. I don’t know if any of you made it to Washington, DC, New York, or Philadelphia, but if you did, I imagine your experiences were very special. I was content and grateful to find time to watch coverage of the visit on TV. As I watched the crowds gathered in the thousands, I thought the pope’s visit was inspiring, educational, and touching.

I watched both CNN and FOX, switching back and forth when one or the other went to commercial. There were more than a few commentators and reporters who readily identified themselves as Catholic—and they spoke with enthusiasm about covering this historic event! But I was amazed at how all those involved both in the studio and on the streets seemed to be taken by Pope Francis.

In spite of being surrounded by guards and caretakers who were there to protect him from possible harm, the pope seemed to relish touching and being touched by the crowds wherever he went. His genuine response of joy to those he could get close to was marvelous.

Cherished Memories

Another aspect that I found amazing was learning that crowds of people came five or six hours early just to get a place to see the pope. One reporter said that when he got there at 4:30 in the morning to begin setting up for his broadcast, there were already people present, noting, “They were not frustrated. Rather, they just seemed eager and happy to be where they were.”

Yet another moment I found amazing was when the 50 priests and deacons went out to distribute the Eucharist to thousands of Catholics attending Mass near the US Capitol. Even with the huge crowd of people, the entire exercise was done with dignity and solemnity. I wonder what those outside of our religion thought about that demonstration of faith in the Eucharist and of Jesus’ presence. I believe that there were many hearts not only touched, but also changed. Surely there are untold moments of grace and conversion.

I also loved that tender moment when Pope Francis was in his popemobile and he spotted the mother holding her baby, who was wearing a tiny miter on her head. Clearly the pope saw her, broke into a wonderful smile, and pointed to her that he wanted to see the baby. I can imagine what a cherished moment and memory that will be for her whole family.

Love Is Our Mission

Dear E-spiration Readers: Relive Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States! Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Events include the first-ever address by a pope to a joint meeting of both houses of Congress, the pope’s meeting at the White House, and his address to the United Nations. The canonization of California’s Junipero Serra marks the first time an American saint is canonized on American soil. Other events include Mass at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Philadelphia’s World Meeting of Families, and more!

To learn more about Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America, click here.

Dear Friar Jeremy: Your E-spiration made me cry. The last time I went to confession, I felt exactly as you described: lighter and freer! I want that feeling again. Thank you for your words! I needed to hear them. I need God’s forgiveness again. Vickie

Dear Friar Jeremy: I go to confession at the end of every month. It gives me a chance to reflect on what I did. Knowing I get a fresh start each month makes me feel better and eager to move on with the grace of God guiding me. Phil

A: Dear Vickie and Phil: Thanks for responding. It helps me know whether my thoughts are helpful. Like many people I meet in confession, your goodness and faith are inspiring to me! We count our blessings by being able to easily receive the sacrament. One respondent who is deaf told me how difficult it was for her to find a priest who was able to communicate with her in sign language. A person who is divorced and remarried told me how much she missed confession and Communion. Peace! Friar Jeremy