Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pope Francis Is Here

Pope Francis has officially arrived in Philadelphia! 

He is officially here for the World Meeting of Families.  He will be leading mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, an address at Independence Hall, Festival of Families on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway that's all just on Saturday.  Sunday involves visit to a local prison and huge public mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  Keeping in mind Pope Francis is 79, and already had a packed filled schedule in Washington and New York before arriving here.

The city has come alive.  A spiritual energy fills the air.

Major highways, streets, bridges, trains, buses, businesses all shut down.  High fencing has been placed around the city with metal detectors at entrances, all trying to keep him safe.  Only certain trains are running into the city, and any one boarding those must have a special papal train ticket.  Local tv stations are broadcasting the events live all day so those who cannot attend event can feel as if they are there.

They city is expecting millions to converge on the city's parkway for the Pope's mass to the public on Sunday.  Pope Francis will be speaking in front of the steps of the Philadelphia Art museum which if you aren't familiar with Philadelphia is the same steps made famous by Sylvester Stallone in the movie Rocky.  In fact they even played the Rocky theme song when he arrived in Philly.  It is known as the Parkway here.

Security is extraordinary, in fact getting a photo of the Pope driving by may be impossible given the high fencing that has been erected around the perimeter of many streets.  Some questioning if it is too over the top, not allowing enough access. Nonetheless the festivities have started and it's hard not to feel filled with emotion.

Pope Francis has been a refreshing and much needed change for the Catholic church.  He is making changes that should have been made centuries ago.  His humility, open mind, kindness, love, the way he chooses to live.....embody what it means to truly lead a life devoted to God.  If you would like to learn more about Pope Francis this link is a great start.  Think we could all learn a thing or two from him. 

It's a day of celebration here in Philadelphia.  In the words of Pope Francis....

"The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love."







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