Such excitement surrounds His Holiness’ visit. I feel it, too. President Obama and the First Lady will greet the Pope at Joint Base Andrews, along with Vice President and Dr. Biden, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
That type of welcome to the United States rarely happens.
I especially await the message he will bring to Capitol Hill during a joint session of Congress on September 24. (I will post the speech as soon as transcripts and video are available.)
So, before he lands on North American soil, watch a “virtual visit” Pope Francis made a couple of weeks ago to parishioners in cities he wouldn’t have time to visit. Watch especially at the 2:25 mark, as he encouraged a girl who had once been bullied to sing for him. Of course, she was nervous. Truth be told, I’d be nervous, too.
But he–speaking in English–encouraged her to be courageous. The moment was pure magic. It was also another example of how the Pontiff connects with his audience: using the power of his moral authority; speaking with warmth; and showing a bit of humility by speaking in English, which is not his strongest language. He was demonstrating some courage, too.
Be courageous, everyone! Speak, and act, with courage.
And welcome, Pope Francis.