Mary Ellen Robinson
Chief Operating Officer
Pope Francis’ visit to the United States has been an inspiration to us all. Reflecting on the influence he has had on our nation, our very dear Christopher friend Father John Catoir recently wrote, “Pope Francis is the true Vicar of Christ on earth today. During his first visit to America, he touched us deeply with his wisdom and love. He encouraged us to live joyfully and to keep our hopes high.”
In his remarks at Ground Zero, Pope Francis said, “Here, amid pain and grief, we also have a palpable sense of the heroic goodness which people are capable of, those hidden reserves of strength from which we can draw. In the depths of pain and suffering, you also witnessed the heights of generosity and service.”
Throughout his tireless schedule of speeches and Masses, Pope Francis also found time to reach out to the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised, and the imprisoned. In Philadelphia, he stopped his motorcade at one point, got out of his Fiat, and approached a 10-year-old boy in a wheelchair. He leaned over the barricade, took the boy’s head in his hands, and kissed him on the forehead, bringing his mother to tears.
How blessed we are to have a leader who demonstrates the love of Christ in such a tangible way. His message of faith put into action is a call for us all to renew our commitment as Christophers, because this way of life is at the very core of our mission. Our outreach to prisoners echoes the mercy Pope Francis showed inmates at a Philadelphia correctional facility on his final morning in our nation. Identifying with their struggle, he said, “Life means getting our feet dirty from the dust-filled roads of life and history. All of us need to be cleansed, to be washed.”
This kind of outreach to those on the margins of society is echoed in much of the literature we disseminate. Our “Hope for Prisoners” prayer card reflects Pope Francis’ call for all who are incarcerated to use their time to set their sights on the right path in life. Our “Gratitude” News Note and our “Hope” and “Joy” prayer cards reflect his message that great things are possible when we trust in God and give thanks for the gifts bestowed upon us. And our “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” News Note touches on the joys and challenges of family life that Pope Francis addressed at the World Meeting of Families.
Please be sure to visit our “Christopher Closeup” blog, where Tony Rossi shares his own beautiful insight on the Francis effect. And we offer a special thanks to Father Jonathan Morris for the ongoing commentary he provided on television throughout the Pope’s visit. Please also take a look at Father Morris’ latest videos posted right here on our website, especially the one about his new book “Light in the Darkness” on the teachings of Father James Keller, M.M., and The Christophers – teachings that so perfectly reflect the call of Pope Francis to bring light into the world.
Most of all we ask for prayers for Pope Francis during this time. We saw first-hand the energy he devotes to guiding our Church and being a beacon of light to the world. Let us pray that God continues to strengthen him and that those who hear his message and witness his actions open their hearts to a life of hope.
May God bless you all!
Mary Ellen Robinson