Pope Francis’ Trip to the U.S.

by Kristina Mullen

Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, just recently visited the U.S. from September 22nd to the 27th. Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope from South America and his recent trip to the United States was his first official visit as the Pope. During his visit, he travelled to Washington D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. In all these cities, the Pope drew humongous crowds and was extremely well received.
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Listed below are a few highlights from his trip:

  • At the White House, the Pope addressed the issue of climate change and commended President Obama’s effort to take initiative against pollution in the atmosphere. He talked about the need for global environmental change to better the lives of future generations.
  • At the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Pope Francis spoke to a group of bishops on the subject of immigration, imploring them to “not be afraid to welcome them [American immigrants]. I am certain that, as so often in the past, these people will enrich America and its church.” In particular, he referenced the immigrants from Latin
    America.
  • At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the Pope blessed Stephanie Gabaud, a 17-year-old girl bound to a wheelchair due to developmental issues in her spinal cord. She was extremelygrateful, exc
    laiming to reporters “I wished him blessings, and then he gave me a hug. Oh my God, it was just so amazing.” She was one of many who received a blessing from the pope and was evidently deeply touched by his kind actions.
  • The Pope gave a mass at Madison Square Garden in which he addressed 20,000 people. His homily, given in Spanish, celebrated the religious faith in New York City. He talked about his concern for the poor as well as immigrants to the city, asking that those with means do what they can to help.
  • During his papal parade in Philadelphia, Pope Francis spotted a baby in the crowd who was dressed as the pope. He gave the baby a kiss and commented that the parents have “a great sense of humor”.
  • In Philadelphia, the Pope attended the World Meeting of Families. In his homily there, he addressed faith in the family setting and he talked about how small kind gestures can make the biggest difference in our daily lives.
  • On his plane ride back to Rome, the Pope did a reflective interview on his experience in America. He shared a personal thought with the journalist saying, “When the plane leaves after a visit, I see the faces of so many people. I get the urge to pray for them and say to the Lord, ‘I came here to do something, to do good, perhaps I have done wrong, forgive me but protect all those people who saw me, who thought of what I said, who heard me, even those who have criticized me, all of them.’ That is what I feel.” The Pope hopes that his visit brought some light and joy into the lives of American Catholics as well as the American public in general.

The Pope’s visit was a huge success for the Church, as he was met with joyous crowds everywhere he went. His trip helped to bring the Catholic Church to the minds of many Americans and helped raise awareness about the Pope and his doings. As a Catholic myself, I hope that the Pope’s visit inspires people to do good in the world and that his message of love and kindness makes an impact in the Catholic society and beyond. My cousin, Aunt and Uncles saw the Pope in both New York and Philadelphia. All of them commented on the sheer size of the crowds and the excitement brewing among the congregation. The Pope’s positive message really uplifted the crowd, and my family members echoed the same sentiments.