He finished his tour in Philadelphia, before catching a ‘red eye’ home to Rome.
At each of his stops, the message was of hope; and a call to build a legacy of unity for future generations to enjoy.
For Jesus, that legacy was the Church. People lined up to see Jesus, to witness one of his many miracles or to hear his message of a loving God and Father, who desired to be in relationship with His creation.
And like the woman who dared to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, a young girl ran up to Pope Francis’ vehicle during one motorcade procession to deliver her wish for peace: that undocumented parents and their American-born children would not have to live in fear of being separated.
We are all “dreamers,” Pope Francis said, and so we return to what we would like to leave behind as a legacy to future generations.
Wherever he went the crowds were there before him. Eager faces, smiles and a few tears. In an age of rock stars, Pope Francis remained true to himself, reminding the press that stars fall or fade and opted for a little black Fiat whenever possible (a subtle reminder of his encyclical, and his belief in the need to slow/down-size our expectations so that our natural resources will continue to be available for future generations to enjoy).
Pope Francis gave us an example. Now we need to follow through with our own plan.
Did you read his document over the summer?
Have you prayed about how you can make a difference in someone else’s life by recycling, reusing or reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ that you have accumulated?
In this Year of Mercy, will you visit the sick or infirm or the prisoner in order to bring hope to their lives?
Each of us can do something to make our world a better place. We just have to begin.
Last month, I described the process I took to re-learn to do papier mache and the looks and/or comments I received as I painstakingly practiced my ‘craft’ (few would call it art).
But as my vision came into view for my co-workers, they began to embrace the idea and encourage me to complete the project. And, with a lot of prayer and persistence, it made its debut at the October 3 Blessing of the Animals celebration.
I chose to bring together St. Francis of Assisi, a beloved patron saint of nature, the environment and creation (did I forget animals?) and the simple, low tech and throw-away materials of paper and glue, with the hope that my papier mached Francis would inspire others to find alternative uses for what we so readily toss in the trash and fill our landfills.
If you have been inspired by Jesus, Pope Francis and/or his visit to the U.S. please let me know what you are going to do. Together we can dream, be inspired, rejoice together and give God the praise!
John De Gano is a deacon at St. Francis of Alexandria Parish in Riverside.