You’ve probably already heard. Pope Francis is making his first trip to Philadelphia. I couldn’t be more excited to get my Pope On in Philly this fall.
Got My Pope On in Rome
Last November I was blessed to see Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. I got this close.
No. The photo isn’t doctored. No filters. No nothing. I was several feet away from the most inspirational man in the world. If that’s not proof enough for you, check out the photo taken by Vatican photographers below. Notice me in a red jacket, rosary on my arm, beaming with delight while snapping photos of the pope. I thought visiting the graves of St. Francis and St. Clare in Assisi, Italy was the bomb, and it was, but seeing the pope this close was like hitting the Catholic lottery.
“There is not enough darkness in the world to extinguish a single candle flame.” – St. Francis of Assisi
For those of you who know me well, you know I went to a Catholic grade school called St. Francis of Assisi. Even before I went to Catholic school I learned about St. Francis from my mother. I was impressed by how St. Francis communicated simply, even to animals, and dedicated himself to helping the less fortunate. While in Assisi with my favorite Capuchin, Br. Ronald Giannone, I reflected on Francis’ life and imagined meeting Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a man who took the name of St. Francis of Assisi.
“Let your heart be merry.” – Judges 19:6
Although I didn’t snap a selfie with Pope Francis, get the opportunity to do “peace be with you laughter,” hum a kazoo rendition of “Joy, Joy, Joy down in your heart” or gift him a Keep Calm, Giggle On shirt, what I got was so much more.
Pope Francis, a beacon of light
During those few seconds in Pope Francis’ presence I received a greater gift. I was filled with one of the deepest and most profound sense of hope and love I have ever felt in my life. Pope Francis is a beacon of light. I remember thinking to myself that day in Rome, “I now understand, in some small measure, how the early disciples must have felt in Jesus’ presence.”
Regardless of personal belief systems, relationships with God, affiliations, if any, with religious groups, people around the world are drawn to Pope Francis because he embodies peace and exudes unconditional love.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16
As a life long native of the Philadelphia area, product of Catholic grade school and graduate of Temple University, I am confident Pope Francis will deliver a large amount of hope and joy to the greater Philly area. I really want my Philly peeps to see, feel and experience the joyful energy Pope Francis delivers. Trust me. He delivers.
Prayers for Philly
As Christians we are called to be joyful, give thanks and pray. I pray Philadelphia and the surrounding region is richly blessed by Pope Francis’ visit. I pray his message helps to strengthen both our families and relationships with each other as neighbors in Christ. I am thankful to the clergy and lay people who worked tirelessly to arrange the Pope’s visit, especially fellow St. Francis of Assisi graduate, Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director of World Meeting of Families.
Want giggles? Want smiles? Want more joy?
If you want more love, laughter, peace and joy in your life and don’t know where to turn, a good place to start is by looking to Pope Francis for guidance and inspiration.
“No one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord” – Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)
Mention this post while booking our Make A Joyful Noise Workshop and we’ll donate 5% of the event profits to World Meeting of Families.
Special thanks to Michael Thimons @Saints4theWeek for my custom illustration of Pope Francis laughing. I LOVE it!