How can I possibly put into words the experience I had in Philadelphia two weeks ago for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) and the visit of Pope Francis? There is so much I could say. I would like to share what moved my heart while in Philly for the Papal visit.
Why Did I Go?
My husband and I decided to go to the WMOF several months ago because the conference sounded amazing, and it would be a chance to travel with another couple (some friends) that live 500 miles away. When they were interested too, all that needed to happen was some decent planning. When we learned Pope Francis would be indeed be Philly too it really made me want to go. Since I’d seen St. Pope John Paul II and Benedict 16 in my lifetime, it’s been kind of a life goal to see every Pope. Seeing Francis on America soil seemed the most feasible at this time in my life. (Although I wouldn’t mind a trip to Rome one of the these days).
What Impacted Me the Most?
I have really enjoyed having Francis as our Pope, so seeing him in person was so moving. His heart for the people to me really mirrors God’s heart for each of us. His homily at the closing Mass was given in Spanish, and something was blocking the jumbo screen with the captioned translation. I was sad that I couldn’t understand what he was saying at first. Later than evening I read the translation of the homily on my smart phone. His words spoke to me and encouraged me in my life as a mom. Prior to the trip I was feeling burnt out and felt as if everything I did was just a routine without much purpose. The Pope’s words about small actions with love reminded me that the call to motherhood and being a wife is indeed makes a difference. They are part of building God’s kingdom. Here is a little bit of the homily:
Faith opens a “window” to the presence and working of the Spirit. It shows us that, like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures. “Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name will not go unrewarded,” says Jesus (cf. Mk 9:41). These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different. They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children. They are little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion… Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith.
Jesus tells us not to hold back these little miracles. Instead, he wants us to encourage them, to spread them. He asks us to go through life, our everyday life, encouraging all these little signs of love as signs of his own living and active presence in our world.
I got this portion from Pope Francis’ Homily Transcript
There is more I can say about this trip so maybe I’ll write a part 2. Lastly, I want to say that Philly is truly a city of brotherly (and sisterly) love. Our host family was so gracious and generous. The people on the train each day going to their daily places of work were friendly and gave us suggestions about where to walk, what to eat, and what to see. I appreciated their patience with overcrowded trains, shut down city streets, and a little disruption to their normal lives.
And lastly, if you are ever in Philadelphia you need to try Steve’s Prince of Steak for Philly cheese steaks. Only problem- I now have pregnancy cravings for them and I can’t get Steve’s cheese steaks here.