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October 12, 2015

Twitter chatter and main stream secular media dubbed him the Rock Star Pope.

Indeed, Pope Francis took the media,the U.S. Congress, New York and Phildelphia by storm.

Crowds, hungry for spiritual nourishment, roared with delight calling out "Viva Papa" as he passed by in a motorcade, fell pin-drop silent in a million plus open air Mass.

This wise and gentle shepherd spread his peace and joy like a healing blanket over the lonely, the broken, the seekers.

Time and again, one heard loving comments. "I'm not a Catholic,but I love this pope." "I left the Church, but Pope Francis seems so warm, so different. Maybe I should go back." "I an an athiest, but I can't help but really like what he is saying."

Certainly Pope Francis, Republicans aside, wowed the high and mighty and low and lonely.

Perhaps it was his blanket integrity, his walking his talk that made United States people sit up and take notice.

Wise ones though came to realize that within that velvet glove of love was a fist of steeled belief.

This pope remembered the poor and went to hear the cildren's choir of East Harlem's Our Lady Queen of Angeles School. He also remembered those in prison and visited Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility where over-joyed inmates presented him with a hand-carved chair.

This pope of the people also remembered those who mourn and journeyed to Ground Zero to give blessings, talk with those who grieve and laid a white rose on the stone inscribed with the names of those who were slaughtered in the 9-11 terrorist attack.

Pope Francis sees with a shepherd's eyes. He stopped processions, stepping into crowds to cradle a sick child. blessing a profoundly ill son lying on a stretcher, holding the hands and talking to a wheel-chair bound police officer.

A spontaneous soul, this is the gentle man who, after having feasted on his meals prepared by restauranteur Lidia Basianca - she plucked the vegetables and herbs from her own garden - went back into the kitchen, thanked all the staff, blessed them and gave them rosaries

Certainly there have been sardonic reports alluding that Pope Francis's actions are staged, staged to present an image of the benevolent, all-seeing pastor.

These sneering nay-sayers are so wrong. Certainly Bill Gates was in the congregation when the pope celebrated Mass and yes, Pope Francis did might many of the nation's high and mighty. But that does not mean they are not a wounded as the lame and the poor.

Pope Francis opened the Church door to the United States people. Global media meant we all witnessed his invitation.

It is up to us, as Catholics, to be a welcoming presence when newcomers and returning Catholics come through the Church door.