The Roman Catholic Church is at a crossroads. Those who identified themselves as Catholic as dwindled over the years in Philadelphia region. Churches and schools have closed or merged, membership has dwindled and of course there are the charges of abuse. Pope Francis has come into a fractured community of faith but has fought to bring Catholics together again. The popular Pope Francis speaks of equality, of peace, of immigrants and love. The Pope has reignited a fire in Catholics worldwide. The message hasn’t been lost on the Philadelphia area faithful. Even those who are not Catholic but of another religion, they see it too. It is the vision of this Pope that we take care of each other and take care of our planet.
Today in anticipation for the Pontiff’s arrival for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, many were contemplating as to why the Pope’s visit is so important to them. Magisterial District Judge Christopher R. Mattox (Upper Darby, 32-2-51) is lifelong member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Drexel Hill and a lector for the past 10 years, and spoke of what the Pope’s arrival means to him. “I hope the Pope’s visit inspires a renewal and revival of the Catholic faith and a return to the Church, “Judge Mattox said. Asking him what faith means to him he said, “One’s faith is of ultimate importance because if based on truth it is the moral compass for all we do,” he explained. Judge Mattox isn’t alone in his thoughts of faith and the Pope.
Pastor Joel Thompson of Llanerch Hills Chapel, Upper Darby, also commends the visit of Pope Francis to our area. “I am pleased that his (Pope Francis) is getting people to think about their faith. Anytime that people are encouraged to think more deeply about Spiritual matters, I think it is an opportunity to rightly communicate our heart to any that might have questions.” The Pope won’t arrive here until Saturday morning but his presence is already being felt. Today, at a local WaWa, people came and went while sitting on a pavement was a man down on his luck. In one of life’s sweet moments, Tauheed Adens, stopped what he was doing, talked kindly to the other man and then reached into his pocket to help. He didn’t hesitate. The man who did look homeless, went inside and bought himself a breakfast sandwich. When you witness kindness it reverberates around you. When asked why he would help a perfect stranger, Ty, as he likes to be called,” it is God’s way and that reaching out to help brings you closer to God.” Whether you call it God’s will or a simple act of kindness, it was beautiful. As simple deed that made a difference.
That is what the Pope’s visit hopes achieve, a simple deed that will make a difference. His Holiness will say Mass to millions. Each one those millions, will feel that they have been made closer to God, to the way of Jesus Christ and another step towards finding their way to their faith. Whether it is Roman Catholic, Methodist or Baptist, those touched will bring home to family and church a renewed sense of faith. Consider mission accomplished, Pope Francis.