Pope Francis has been in the news lately for several reasons. Today I am excited to announce that Pope Francis will be visiting the United States of America in 2015.
According to news reports, Pope Francis has accepted the invitation from Archbishop Chaput to attend the World Meeting of Families which is scheduled to take place in September 2015 at Philadelphia. It is speculated that he will visit New York City as well. This is great news indeed! American Catholics can use some encouragement since the last Papal visit by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.
Moreover, Pope Francis met with Meriam Ibrahim and her family. Ibrahim was a Muslim Sudanese woman who converted to Christianity. Because of this action, she was accused of abandoning her Muslim faith and was sentenced to death. After much prayer and protests, the court overturned the decision. Meriam Ibrahim immediately sought to leave Sudan but was detained by soldiers at the airport who claimed that she had fake documents. She was eventually let go and left for Rome. Ibrahim is just one of the many Christians who are persecuted by Muslims throughout
Lastly, how many of us remember the school cafeteria? You walked in after class, stood on line holding a tray. Then you would pass by the different types of food on display and picked what you wanted. Well Pope Francis did just that. He surprised Vatican workers during lunch by entering the cafeteria, waiting in line like everyone else and sitting down to eat with the workers. As you may imagine, they were in shock at the man in white would appear there and sit with them. Immediately the “selfies” began to appear and the men were elated. They said they were nervous but at the same time excited. The workers described the Pope as “down to Earth” and easy to talk to. In an awkward display of excitement, an employee who works at the cash register was scared to give the Pope his bill for his lunch. If you were wondering, he had pasta, cod and grilled tomatoes.
This is nothing new. The Pope made it clear since his election that he wanted to be near the people because he does not like being alone. It saddens me when some make comparisons between this Pope and previous ones as if the ones before him were “less Christian.”
The truth of the matter is that we do not know if previous Popes sat and ate with workers. Perhaps this was not photographed so no one should make comparisons between Popes. In any event, Pope Francis is an example of what clergy and other leaders should be.