It’s been a week since my wife, Debbie, and I departed Philadelphia after attending the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Festival of Families and Papal Mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
What a blessing it all was!
It seems to me that Pope Francis conveyed the joy of the Lord in all that he did and said, regardless of the challenges he encountered, and that joy characterized the World Meeting of Families.
To cite just a few instances:
The joy that flowed in his greetings to fellow Church men and women and in his embrace of the entire nation, regardless of the differences that shape us as a people.
The joy reflected back to him in the greetings and cheers of clergy and religious, public officials, and the huge crowds in Washington, New York City, and Philadelphia.
Upon his arrival at the Philadelphia airport, Pope Francis’ embrace of 10 year old Michael Keating, a cerebral palsy patient, and Michael’s parents.
Pope Francis’ comments to immigrants at Independence Hall where he spoke at the lectern Abraham Lincoln used for the Gettysburg address.
At the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia, the Pope’s embrace of inmates and of families victimized by crime.
The joy that emanated from the stage at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Archbishop Chaput’s comments, in the Papal Mass and homily, and in the huge cross of Christ that towered above the altar and the Papal Chair. The cross that seemed to tower above the entire city.
To this biased observer, Pope Francis’ visit conveyed the core message of Evangelii Gaudium and the charism of St. Francis of Assisi… to rejoice always.
Pope Francis conveyed the gaze of faith described in his encyclical The Light of Faith in his Masses and homilies in DC, NYC, and Philly, his visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor and Kim Davis, his comments at Ground Zero in NYC to families of 911 victims and to Muslim and Jewish clerics and those from other faith traditions, and his comments in Philadelphia to victims of sexual abuse.
His call to the US Congress and to the United Nations to protect all human life and Creation reiterated his advocacy for that spiritual and material bond in On the Care of our Common Home.
Thanks to the wonderful TV coverage that occurred, it was possible to see and hear much of the Pope’s visit.
Thanks to the NACN and the USCCB, a repository of Pope Francis’ homilies and talks is available online. As a non-nursing healthcare professional working in health science communication, I hope in coming blogs to inquire about the implications of the WMOF and Pope Francis’ US visit for patient advocacy, health and faith integration, and healthcare ethics.
But this is one limited perspective. Your thoughts and perspectives are most welcome regarding Pope Francis’ visit and the World Meeting of Families — of moments and events that left a lasting impression and a legacy for NACN work in healthcare, education, and public policy.