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Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Mission of Mercy--Pope Francis in the Big Apple

You have to double click
 As I continue to reflect on Pope Francis' visit to our country I would like to turn away from comments on his presentations and reflect instead on his actions throughout his time both here and in Cuba.

  We all know that two very important components of his message throughout his papacy have been mercy and reaching out to the peripheries.  To engage both of these one also has to have humility.

   The above picture is a wonderful example of his humility.  While visiting a school in Harlem he engaged some students by participating in one of their projects.  The project on creation, one of his favorite themes, involved moving trees, etc. around a computerized screen.  Pope Francis was failing to move items when a girl corrected him, telling him that he had to double click.  He smiled and not only followed here advice. He let her hand guide him.  A pope allowing himself to be correct by a young student.  That's humility.

   In Washington his holiness declined an invitation to dine with congressional leaders and chose instead to visit with the homeless and have lunch with them.  In New York, while he delivered an important and moving address to the UN, his presence there was above all a presence of healing and mercy.  This began with his brief homily at the Vesper service in St. Patrick's Cathedral where he praised the work of women religious who had been under strong scrutiny just a short while back.  He also spoke to the issue of child sex abuse.

   I believe that his best moment in New York came at the interfaith service at ground zero where in addition to his wonderful words and prayers he certainly brought comfort and healing to the families of victims and to survivors who have been wounded in so many ways both physically and emotionally.  For me as a Franciscan, even though I was observing from Florida, his message was a comfort to me and the friars of my province because on that day we lost our brother, Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM



   Thank you Pope Francis not only for your inspiring words, but above all for your ministry of encounter and mercy here in our country.   We await now your trip to Philadelphia.

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