What's the big fuss? Well, it is not common for the pope to come to the United States. Since the first papal visit of Paul VI in 1965, there have been only seven other visits, all by Pope John Paul II. This will mark the ninth time in the history of the Church that a pope steps on our soil. So, yes it is a big fuss!
Pope Benedict's visit has pundits and critics whirling about. Many are critiquing what he should or should not say. Many of these ideas are not part of his agenda. But, one can hardly blame them for raising their hopes. How often has the pope come to the United States? Indeed, there is only one reason for his coming:to sow the seed of faith and hope. His theme is "Christ our Hope." During his noon blessing on April 13th, he summarized his visit by saying " With the various groups I shall meet, my intention is to share Our Lord's word of life. In Christ is our hope." He further commented, "With the various groups I shall meet, my intention is to share Our Lord's word of life. In Christ is our hope... Christ is the foundation of our hope for peace, for justice and for the freedom that flows from God's law fulfilled in his commandment to love one another." He then asked all to pray for the success of his visit that it will be a time of spiritual renewal for all Americans. Since the crisis of the clergy sex scandals, our church here in the U.S. has been deeply injured and we need the care of our shepherd who comes to us in a special way through Pope Benedict XVI.
Media Savvy Church
Prior to his coming, the USCCB, through the funding of the Catholic Communications Campaign, created a special web site for the papal visit: www.papalvisit.org. At this web site one can find the itinerary of events , information about the pope, information about the Catholic Church in the USA, teaching resources, and more. There is even a blog where you can get the latest information and leave your comments. I was delighted to see this site, as it is a sign of how the Church is trying to use new media to communicate with the world. Of particular note, the pope himself recorded a video which has been put on the bishop's web site and has been widely circulated on YouTube. Click here to check it out. I was delightfully surprised to find all kinds of information surrounding the visit and the Church in general. For example, one can find out about the "Popemobile," various liturgical norms for Papal Masses, various facts and figures about the U.S. Church, worldwide and U.S. Catholic populations, and more. There was even a Papal Visit Video contest. Click here to watch the finalist. In order to stay current as things happen, you can subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking on the following link: Subscribe to RSS Feed. To put this feed into your RSS reader, click on the previous link. Then select your reader. To add this feed to your browser, click on "Subscribe" and click on "View Feed XML" then click on "Subscribe to this feed".
Again, I hope that this visit will energize as well as plant the seed of hope for us all. Keep your computer close to the sites above as well as to the news in the coming days to watch the events as they unfold. Welcome Pope Benedict XVI!
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. William Holtzinger