Pope Represents Authority of Heaven

Last Wednesday’s Gospel (Lk 9:1-6) at Mass was so fitting for the Holy Father’s full day in D.C. That is the passage where the Lord tells the Apostles to “take nothing for the journey” but the authority and power he gives them. Pope Francis’s universal popularity is based, in large part, to his simplicity and poverty, and that he takes hardly anything for the journey. The simple, little Fiat car he used was a huge hit with people everywhere in our country! He hasn’t brought much materially to the United States but has brought the power and authority of Jesus Christ.

In my opinion, the key word surrounding the excitement and power of his visit is authority. People universally and inherently acknowledge the authority of the office of the Pope. That is why it’s completely exciting when any pope visits the U.S.! The authority of the pope is, of course, the authority of Jesus Christ. It is the authority of heaven. That is the authority that people respect. And, it is the authority with which he spoke to the Congress. As important as the offices of our congressmen, congresswomen, and senators are, the office of the pope dwarfs them. His unique presence at the podium of the Congress and heavenly perspective clearly showed that. It was a sight to behold for all American Catholics!

–Sincerely in Christ, Fr Greg

Don’t Forget to Pray for Our Pope

This is a historic week in our beloved city of Washington, and particularly for the Archdiocese. If you are not able to be with Pope Francis physically on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, be with him spiritually.

PRAY that God will protect him and keep everyone safe during the events. PRAY that God will inspire his words, and that he will speak the truth in love.

PRAY that all Americans will be open to the Holy Spirit through his words and actions of Pope Francis.

PRAY that our city and country will receive many graces this week!

Below are some excerpts from Cardinal Wuerl’s interview with the Catholic Standard which prepare us well for the Holy Father’s visit.

–Sincerely in Christ, Fr Greg

“While I do not know what Pope Francis will say when he speaks to the President or addresses Congress and the United Nations, I suspect that whatever it is, it will be pastoral in tone, challenging in content and engaging in its delivery. Pope Francis will have an opportunity to speak to the political leaders of our nation and representatives of political leaders around the world. Already this pontificate is marked with the pope’s call for respect for human dignity, our need to care for one another as members of the human family and at the same time our obligations towards the environment, the care of our common home. I would not be surprised to find any or all of these as part of his messages. Just as important as what the Holy Father says – or perhaps even more important – is what we do in response.

“There are many ways to prepare for the visit of Pope Francis, the Successor of Peter who, above all else, brings to us Jesus Christ. Spiritually, I hope we will all take advantage of this moment to renew our own faith conviction, frequent the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and at the same time share our own enthusiasm for our Holy Father and our faith in the Church he represents with our neighbors. The Walk with Francis Pledge is also a way of saying to the pope that we recognize his message, embrace it and try to live it. The best way we can prepare is by that interior, spiritual conversion to which we are called every day as Christians…

“(After) the Holy Father leaves the Archdiocese of Washington, I hope part of his legacy will be that afterglow that continues to warm our hearts, challenge our consciences and deepen our faith. Not only will this be a time of grace in which we ourselves are renewed, but this visit van be a leaven in the whole of society. It is an important opportunity to evangelize those who perhaps do not really know what Christ and his Church are all about. Touched by the Gospel love and truth in this way, through Pope Francis and us in communion with him, our city and nation can grow and take just a few steps toward God’s kingdom.”–Cardinal Wuerl

We Are Called to Serve the Poor

From today’s second reading: “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?” – Jas 2:5

How blessed are we as a parish to serve those who are heirs of the kingdom? How blessed are we to serve the poor in the world through the Pope Francis Outreach Center? The Catholic Standard has documented the work that the Lord does through our helping hands and hearts in a way that will please you immensely. It has published an excellent online article that will be in the main print edition soon of Pope Francis’s visit to Washington. Below are some excerpts from the online article. Praise God for the Center and for the beautiful depiction of it through the Catholic Standard!

Volunteers and staff of the Pope Francis Outreach Center in Southeast Washington say they hope the upcoming visit to Washington of its namesake will help the faithful better know and love the poor.

“Pope Francis said that the poor are not to be pitied because Jesus is present among them. In their suffering, they know Christ in a special way,” said Ryan Hehman, director of Assumption Parish’s Pope Francis Outreach Center. “We hope our efforts reach out to those who hurt the most and are in need the most, especially those in need not just of material help, but of love and friendship.”

“Pope Francis lives as poor a life as he can to be like Christ who was poor, and to be in solidarity with the poor… “We want to represent the generosity of God. In the Gospels we learn ‘the first shall be last and the last shall be first,’” (Fr. Shaffer) said. “In this world, the people we serve are last, but in the Kingdom of God they are first. That is an anomaly that God taps into that the people can identify with.”

Volunteer Richard Miller said he has served at the center “for 20-some years now, and as long as God gives me the strength, I’ll keep on doing it.” “My work here has taught me what it means to give to others,” the 74-year-old member of Assumption Parish said. “The most important thing is to care about those we serve. If you don’t care, then you can’t be a volunteer.”

Jeannette Thomas, a 40-year member of the parish, volunteers with the outreach center’s clothing distribution. “We give people the best. Everything we give is clean and sorted and ready to wear,” she said. “That is because we are working for the Father in His house, and these are His clothes we give.”

–Sincerely in Christ, Fr Greg