one single man. one world. the Pope in Philadelphia.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

One single man unites three cities, also the world. He wears white. He raises his hand. He stops his Fiat to kiss a young boy on a head, to touch a baby, to nod at an Argentine flag, to laugh at something, to mime a quick sprint. He speaks, at a mass, of St. Katherine. He honors educators and peacemakers. He talks about the power of being individually different together and about the devastations of attempting global sameness.

Celebrate your history.

Celebrate your culture.

Celebrate our many languages.

He celebrates the immigrant, reminds those who must be reminded that we, here in America, we, here, in Philadelphia, are all products of movement; my own Italian great-grandfather became a naturalized citizen not even 100 years ago. He asks us to look past walls and barriers. To be honest with each other. To seek out peace, to stop perpetuating damage, to hold together family and family life.

Money, fame, celebrity, awards, job titles: These things do not impress him. He prefers his own shoes, his own small apartment, his single suitcase of possessions.

We are watching him, learning from him, studying the skies (the morning hue here is the brightest pink). We are celebrating with those, like Sister Kimberly Miller, who have stood in his presence. We are praying for him today, another long day, and we will be praying for him, as his plane departs tonight, and then after, when he has more meetings to attend to, another continent to greet and to inspire.

Make the peace, he says. Or keep it.

Be honest.


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