Loading
Impact of papal visit positive for clergy and laity alike
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The largest crowd in history arrived at the white house lawn yesterday to greet Pope Benedict XVI, the first visit by a Pontiff to the White House in 29 years.

Greeted by a 21 gun salute and the first of several happy birthday serenades, Pope Benedict showed his appreciation, rising halfway out of his chair several times to thank the crowd.

The Pope and the president seemed to have perfectly choreographed speeches, each sounding similar notes, emphasizing themes central to teaching of the Church and to life in America: religious freedom, moral responsibility and the necessary relation between faith and reason.

Their mutual greetings showed that each was listening, interested, and respected what the other had to say.

Summing up his impressions later in the day, Bishop Wenski from the Diocese of Orlando said, "The Pope has expressed both at the White House and the National Shrine his enthusiastic appreciation for America and the American people. He has highlighted Americans' generosity both at home and abroad as well as the religious freedom that is the legacy of our founding Fathers. While concerned about the threat of secularism and the privatization of religious commitment, I believe he has a genuine respect for America and the space it affords to religion to participate in the public square."

With his characteristic clarity, Pope Benedict outlined the purpose and plan of his visit. He came, he said, first as an "ally," to encourage and foster hope, and "on the occasion of the celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the elevation of the country's first Diocese – Baltimore – to a metropolitan Archdiocese, and the establishment of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville."

Pope Benedict said, "As I begin my visit, I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens.”

Monsignor Philip Lowry, pastor of St James Church in Redmond, New Jersey and chaplain to the New Jersey State Police, said, "The Pope's presence here cannot be underestimated. His visit will bring healing; his presence and the outpouring of love by the American people will be a legacy for all of us."

While media focuses much on the gregarious nature of Pope Benedict's beloved predecessor John Paul II, few were surprised by the crowds, limited only by tight security and limited space.

"People like him," said one gentleman. "He is more understandable than John Paul II."

Donna O'Hare from Great Falls, Virginia, said, "I don't feel the same kind of personal connection that I did with John Paul II. But we need to hear this message of hope." Even youth, she said, are drawn by the Pope whose shy manner and penetrating insights elicit a sense of mystery.

"The fact that the Pope gives us so much hope and helps us think about issues,  such as global warming, helps me when I think about facing the world I am about to go into," said Jessica Ravens, a junior at Catholic University of America.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Jan
29

Liturgical Calendar

January 29, 2015

Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 4:1-20

Gospel
Date
01/28/15
01/26/15
01/25/15

Daily Readings


Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
01/28/15

Homily of the Day

Mk 4:1-20

Homily
Date
01/28/15
01/26/15
01/25/15