Benedict Zama looked out from her table and Pope Francis was coming toward her moments after he arrived at the St. Maria’s Meal program of Catholic Charities of the Washington Archdiocese.
“Hello,” she said in her native French, extending her right hand. “Welcome. How are you?”
“It’s going well,” Zama said the pope responded, also in French.
As Pope Francis spoke to a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24, the members of the House and Senate vacillated between their usual response to similar addresses and intensely focusing on the pontiff’s heavily accented, carefully pronounced delivery of a text in English.
The moment Bob Labat had been waiting for came when he walked into the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23 for the canonization Mass of Junipero Serra. Pope Francis made the dream of thousands of Serra Club members come true, including Labat, who just ended his one-year term as president of the national council.
“We can find no social or moral justification, no justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing,” Pope Francis told an audience of about 200 clients of Catholic Charities gathered at St. Patrick Church.
Pope Francis made a previously unannounced 15-minute stop Sept. 23 at a Washington residence operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, where he met with about 45 sisters.
The past, the promise and the potential of the United States must not be smothered by bickering and even hatred at a time when the U.S. people and indeed the world need a helping hand, Pope Francis told the U.S. Congress.
Pope Francis had much to say to the U.S. bishops during his remarks at a midday prayer service at St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington Sept. 23, the first full day of his U.S. apostolic journey.
Bishop Andrew Cozzens of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said attending the Mass gave him a “palpable joy.” He serves as the episcopal adviser of the USA Council of Serra International, an organization whose mission and ministry is to foster and promote vocations through prayer, awareness, affirmation and support.
The 11,000 ticketed guests and a cast of hundreds extra — military units, musicians and federal employees — who waited on the White House lawn to greet Pope Francis Sept. 23 were clearly there as fans of the visiting pope.
Acknowledging the real challenges and burdens the U.S. bishops face in their ministry, Pope Francis shared with them his own experience as a pastor and urged them to keep their eyes focused on Jesus and their hearts open to others.