Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Religious Freedom & Environmental Care-And So It Begins...Pope Francis Visits the White House!

Good morning! I hope that you all are having a blessed morning. We made it to Wednesday!!! Today, I really didn't want to get out of bed for Mass, because I was so nice, cozy, and sleepy. However, my husband is wonderful at holding me accountable and being disciplined, so I found myself in church for daily Mass, for which I am grateful. A sacrifice, but a wonderful way to pray for all those who need prayers-especially for Pope Francis! During Mass, I was really holding up in prayer those at the White House, and that they would be open to God's mercy and truth as show in the pope. 
The pope's plan touching down yesterday!!
For those of you who were unable to watch the official ceremonies at the White House today, I've decided to share my reactions throughout the ceremony! (the times given are in the Central time zone, since that's where I live)

8:23: Pope Francis is greeting the Obamas! Pope Francis is so sweet & adorable, and Michelle Obama yet again is stylin'! (seriously, those outfits the Obama ladies wore when the pope came in convinced me that I want to be their friends and go on shopping trips with them)

8:24: I don't think I've heard the National Anthem of the Holy See before; it's pretty cool! Pope Francis looks so peaceful and humble, and I'm really excited to hear him speak! (and he'll be speaking in English, which he doesn't do much, so that's exciting!)

8:30: That band is so cool!!!! They look like they stepped out of another century!!!
8:33: President Obama has the mic! I'm quite excited to hear what he says in this opening address! 

"You are also the first pontiff to share an encyclical through a Twitter account." Haha, the pope is smiling at this one :) 

"Catholic organizations serve the poor, minister to prisoners...operate orphanages and hospitals." Well, thank you, President Obama, for acknowledging this! Can you please do some work so these great Catholic organizations are no longer penalized refusing to fund contraceptives? 

"You remind us that the Lord's most powerful message is mercy." Truth. 

"It means showing compassion and love to the marginalized and the outcast. Those who suffered and those who cause suffering and seek redemption. You remind us of the cost of war, particularly on the powerless and defenseless, and urge us toward the imperative of peace." So far so good, President Obama is hitting on some common ground here! He also mentioned refugees earlier, which is nice. 

"You remind us that people are truly free when they can practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, we cherish religious liberty. It was the basis for so much of what brought us together." Yes, Mr. President, you point out that in other parts of the world believers are prevented from gathering, churches are destroyed, and Faith is suppressed. You mention wanting people to live their Faith free from fear. But what about all of the Christians and members of the Catholic Church here in America who cannot live their Faith freely???? What about all of the people here who face lawsuits for living out the Faith in their daily lives, and not just in their churches????????

"You are shaking us out of our complacency." You got that right, President Obama! Pope Francis is quite awesome at this. 

8:44: Pope Francis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the first time he's giving an official address in English!!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!!

He mentions supporting marriage and the family in Philadelphia "at this critical moment in our history." BOOM. The pope is clearly laying down the importance of marriage and the family, in an honest, matter-of-fact manner. I like it. 

"American Catholics are committed to building a society that is tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination." Good, very true, important, and diplomatic. 

When discussing religious freedom: "As my brothers, the U.S. bishops have reminded us, all are to be vigilant precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from anything that would threaten or compromise it." YES. Thank you for saying this at the White House, my dear Holy Father!!! I'm praying that you will shake people out of complacency and into action to be vigilant and protect religious freedom! 

8:49: "When it comes to care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment in human history." Pope Francis is now talking about climate change, and his appreciation for President Obama's work to reduce air pollution. Very nice, some good common ground here, building a bridge for communication to occur.  

For about nine minutes, Pope Francis spoke. It was hard to pick up every single word, because of his accent and the quality of the live stream I was watching, but what I heard was great! I feel like he established some great common ground with those in attendance, particularly by discussing the need to dialogue and strive for peace with others. He also touched on some nice points about how we need to care for our common home. I really appreciate how he mentioned the plight of refugees and how he is travelling to support marriage and families. The pope's address was heartfelt, honest, kind, and compassionate, and I am very excited for his opportunity to be at the White House today!!! Please keep praying for him and all the individuals that he meets with today, especially as he continues to speak with many people in the White House!!!!

Also get ready to party, because Blessed Junipero Serra is being canonized today!!!!! A new saint!!!!!!!

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