The Pope Is Coming :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The Pope Is Coming

Melissa Fordyce

The World Meeting of Families 2015 Iconic Image. Credit: Javier de la Flor/CNA.
When I was a little girl, the Pope used to call my house.

The phone would ring. I would answer, “Hello, Squarcia residence.”  A man with a jubilant tone would reply, “May I please speak to your Mom and Dad?” “Sure,” I would say.  “May I ask who is calling?” “Tell them it’s the Pope,” the man would say.

I stood for a moment. Covering the phone receiver (as if that would really block the loud shriek that was about to exist from the depths of my lungs), I screamed: “Mommmmm, Daddddd, the Pope is on the phone, the Pope is on the phone!”

They would laugh.  I would wonder why they weren’t as excited as I was to speak to THE POPE.
“Hi Msgr. Al,” I would hear my mom say, as she chuckled picking up the phone.  Msgr. Al was a longtime friend of my parents. He officiated their wedding and baptized my sisters, brother and me.  He was living in Rome and every so often he called to check-in. He was a jokester of sorts and he fooled me every time.

When I first heard the news that Pope Francis would becoming to Philadelphia, I shrieked with the same excitement I did all those years ago when I thought John Paul II was calling my parents.  Perhaps it wasn’t quite as high pitched as my nine-year-old little girl scream, but the feeling internally was just the same.

The Pope is coming!  The Pope is coming! It’s no joke.  And as a Catholic, I am overjoyed.

Why? Why would I want to battle the 1 million people expected to flood the streets of Philadelphia? Philadelphia traffic during a non-Pope visit is terrible at best.  Why would I want to drag my two small children to a Mass where the celebrant might be over a mile away?  As it is, I practically have to stand on my head and pull rabbits out of hats just to keep them still when we are sitting in the first pew at Mass on an ordinary Sunday. Why would I want to do all that when I could probably just watch it on TV from the comfort of my own home?

Why not?

Why would I not want to be surrounded by 1 million faith-filled people on fire for Christ? Why would I not want to be in the presence of a man who is changing the world with his love of Christ and His Church? Why would I not want to give my children a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in one of the most historic events in modern Church history?

I never gave it a second thought. The positives of what this experience could be, far at weigh the negatives.   I texted my husband and said “we are going.” He replied. “I know.”

But beyond my personal excitement, there is a much larger aura of enthusiasm across the Philadelphia Archdiocese which includes five counties and more than 1.4million faithful. This is finally some good news. For once, area Catholics didn’t have to hold their breath for fear of what scandalous or heartbreaking news might be to come when they saw a TV news reporter standing outside the Cathedral. Pope Francis’ announcement (and subsequent visit) is pumping a new vibrancy into this archdiocese and this city. With a focus on the family, he will drive home an important message not just for Philadelphians but for the entire world—family matters.  “Marriage and family are in crisis,” the Pope said as he made his announcement about the upcoming visit.  His trip marks a tremendous opportunity for necessary renewal. The domestic church is where our faith is nurtured and developed.  It is the foundation on which disciples are made and the world is changed.

On September 27, the city of brotherly love will experience a love that transcends all understanding.  There won’t be words to describe it, but our hearts will be changed.  That I know for certain. 

The Pope is coming!  The Pope is coming!It’s no joke.   And as a child of God, I am overjoyed.  I will not miss this.

I think I’ll call Msgr. Al.

Topics: Current Events , Faith , Family , Marriage , Pope Francis

Melissa Squarcia Fordyce serves as the Director of Communications for Presby’s Inspired Life a non-profit ministry providing continuing care and affordable housing to older adults in the greater Philadelphia region.  Prior to her current role, she spent seven years with Catholic Leadership Institute as the Manger of Communications & Special Events.  Melissa is a wife and mother of two children, giving of her time and talent to her parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as a 5th grade catechist, Eucharistic Minister and Finance Council Board Member.  She also served as the chair of the Public Relations Committee for the Archdiocese’s first-ever Catholic Women’s Conference in 2013.  She can be reached at [email protected].

View all articles by Melissa Fordyce

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