On Thursday, September 24th, 2015, Pope Francis payed a visit to Saint Patrick’s Church in Washington D.C.. Around the same time, the pontiff also gave a blessing and some brief remarks to the clients and homeless gathered at lunchtime for the St. Maria Meals Program of the Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington. According to St. Patrick’s Church, this event was a private, ticketed affair.

Pope Francis’ Speech to St. Patrick’s Parish (D.C.) and the Poor

It is a pleasure to meet you. Good day. You are about to listen to two sermons, one in Spanish and the other in English. The first word I wish to say to you is “Thank you”. Thank you for welcoming me and for your efforts to make this meeting possible.

Here I think of a person whom I love very much, someone who is, and has been, very important throughout my life. He has been a support and an inspiration. He is the one I go to whenever I am “in a fix”. You make me think of Saint Joseph. Your faces remind me of his.

Joseph had to face some difficult situations in his life. One of them was the time when Mary was about to give birth, to have Jesus. The Bible tells us that, “while they were [in Bethlehem], the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Lk 2:6-7).

The Bible is very clear about this: there was no room for them. I can imagine Joseph, with his wife about to have a child, with no shelter, no home, no place to stay. The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person. The Son of God knew what it was to start life without a roof over his head. We can imagine what Joseph must have been thinking. How is it that the Son of God has no home? Why are we homeless, why don’t we have housing?

These are questions which many of you may ask, and do ask, every day. Like Saint Joseph, you may ask: Why are we homeless, without a place to live? And those of us who do have a home, a roof over our heads, would also do well to ask: Why do these, our brothers and sisters, have no place to live? Why are these brothers and sisters of ours homeless?

Joseph’s questions are timely even today; they accompany all those who throughout history have been, and are, homeless.

Joseph was someone who asked questions. But first and foremost, he was a man of faith. Faith gave Joseph the power to find light just at the moment when everything seemed dark. Faith sustained him amid the troubles of life. Thanks to faith, Joseph was able to press forward when everything seemed to be holding him back.

In the face of unjust and painful situations, faith brings us the light which scatters the darkness. As it did for Joseph, faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation. God is present in every one of you, in each one of us.

I want to be very clear. There is no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing. There are many unjust situations, but we know that God is suffering with us, experiencing them at our side. He does not abandon us.

Jesus not only wanted to show solidarity with every person. He not only wanted everyone to experience his companionship, his help, his love. He identified with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice. He says this clearly: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt25:35).

Faith makes us know that God is at our side, that God is in our midst and his presence spurs us to charity. Charity is born of the call of a God who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another.

Jesus keeps knocking on our doors, the doors of our lives. He doesn’t do this by magic, with special effects, with flashing lights and fireworks. Jesus keeps knocking on our door in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the faces of our neighbors, in the faces of those at our side.

Dear friends, one of the most effective ways we have to help is that of prayer. Prayer unites us; it makes us brothers and sisters. It opens our hearts and reminds us of a beautiful truth which we sometimes forget. In prayer, we all learn to say “Father”, “Dad”. And when we say “Father”, “Dad”, we learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer, there are no rich or poor, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood.
In prayer our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of situations of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity.

How good it is for us to pray together. How good it is to encounter one another in this place where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where we realize that we need one another. Today I want to pray with you, I want to join with you, because I need your support, your closeness. I would like to invite you to pray together, for one another, with one another. That way we can keep helping one another to experience with joy that Jesus is in our midst, and that Jesus helps us to find solutions to the injustices which he himself already experienced. Not having a home.

Are you ready to pray together? I will begin in Spanish and you follow in English.

Our Father, who art in heaven…

Before leaving you, I would like to give you God’s blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace (Num 6:24-26).
And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.

Sources:

  • http://www.adw.org/papalvisit/
  • http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/holy-see/francis/papal-visit-2015/2015-papal-visit-schedule.cfm
  • http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/pastor_message_0815.shtml

31 Comments, RSS

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    December 7, 2016 at 6:44 am

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    says on:
    November 11, 2015 at 10:23 pm

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  • Bert Sierra

    says on:
    September 30, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I’m curious if anyone who attended knows when Pope Francis left St. Patrick’s Church and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington on Thursday, September 24th. I’m trying to reconstruct his itinerary for the day. Post here, or send an e-mail to thelinkaz@gmail.com if you prefer.

  • Pilar

    says on:
    September 23, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    We will Able to be around the congress??? Thank You

  • Jim

    says on:
    September 23, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Vivian just turn on your tv, he’s on every station.

  • Jim

    says on:
    September 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Can the pope give me a weather report.

  • PJ

    says on:
    September 23, 2015 at 3:17 am

    To whom it may concern,

    I would like to see the Pope when he visits St. Patrick’s Church on Thursday morning. Will that be possible? Also, are tickets required to get in the church?

    • Joseph Feeley

      says on:
      September 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Hi PJ,

      The St. Patrick’s Church event is a ticketed affair and there are no more tickets available. You probably won’t be able to get in.

      Joseph Feeley
      Website Manager
      PopeFrancisVisit.com

      • dennis

        says on:
        September 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm

        Would it be possible to go and visit St. Patrick’s Church in its perimeter (not inside the church) and still able to see the Pope?
        Thank you.

      • ben

        says on:
        September 24, 2015 at 3:55 pm

        we lost english sound and then lost stream where did it go??

  • Vivian

    says on:
    September 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Hi I would like to see the pope how can I see him

    • Joseph Feeley

      says on:
      September 22, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Please read the content on our site.

      Joseph Feeley
      Website Manager
      PopeFrancisVisit.com

  • aida celestino

    says on:
    September 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I just to know if the Pope is passing by Massachusetts AVenue when he goes to the Vatican Embassy. We really would like to see him. When Pope Benedict visited the US, he passed by Mass Ave. on the way to the Vatican Embassy. Will this be happening again? Reply pls.

    thanks

  • Maria Gabriela

    says on:
    September 10, 2015 at 2:28 am

    Hi my name is Maria. I live in North Carolina. My husband and my two boys will be traveling to Washington DC, we just wish to be part of this great blessings. Can you please tell me how to get tickets

    • Joseph Feeley

      says on:
      September 10, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      For D.C, your best shot of seeing the pope is when he comes down the road on his motorcade to the White House. Otherwise, there are no tickets available at this point for D.C. events.

      Joseph Feeley
      Website Manager
      PopeFrancisVisit.com

  • Carol

    says on:
    September 9, 2015 at 9:57 am

    My name is Carol. I live in Germantown, MD. I’m no one special, although it is my greatest wish to see you and hear you speak at mass. My heart is humble and I know there are many more that need your blessing and I may never get the chance to see you, for those who do may they be blessed forever. God Bless you, Pope Francis. Thank you for the hope you give us.

    • Joseph Feeley

      says on:
      September 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Carol,

      Even if you didn’t get tickets to any of the events, you can still attend the Papal Mass and Festival of Families for free. You will need to purchase a special papal transit pass from SEPTA (septa.org). Also, it is highly likely that these events will be broadcast live on television and the internet.

      Joseph Feeley
      Website Manager
      PopeFrancisVisit.com

  • paulette snow

    says on:
    September 7, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I would like to see the Pope in Washington, DC. Is there going to be any opportunity to see him for the public. Do I have to get tickets or will I be able to see him on route or at a general blessing for the masses of people.

    • Joseph Feeley

      says on:
      September 9, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      Hi Paulette,

      I would try to catch a glimpse of him when he is on his way to the White House for the welcoming ceremony. Otherwise, there has been word that there will be a jumbotron for the canonization mass of Blessed Junipero Serra.

      Joseph Feeley
      Website Manager
      PopeFrancisVisit.com

      • Melia

        says on:
        February 8, 2016 at 8:21 pm

        This site is like a clsroaosm, except I don’t hate it. lol

  • Patricia Jordan

    says on:
    September 6, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    I have written to Pope Francis requesting disability accommodations during his
    visit to Washington, D.C. I am unable to stand for more than 15 minutes due
    to a spinal disability.

    Received a reply from Papal Nuncio who referred me to Washington archdiocese office.
    Left a phone message, called again, left message.

    Am coming up from Charleston, SC to stay with a friend in DC.
    So hoping to receive a blessing from Pope Francis in person as my health is precarious
    and this appears to be the only chance I’ll have in this lifetime to be in his presence.

    Thank you and Blessings for your help and assistance in this hope.
    Patricia Jordan

  • Buford Bourns

    says on:
    September 3, 2015 at 1:28 am

    What a timely visit to St. Patrick s Cathedral in New York City, where preparations are being made for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis. The Cathedral has beautiful stained glass windows and ornately decorated alcoves and altars.

  • Cristina castro

    says on:
    September 2, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I live in Arlington with my kids and must see this great man i admire so much.

  • Lorena Padilla

    says on:
    August 17, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I live in McLean and I would like to atend any Pope’s event .
    Would you please be so kind to let me know where can I go and how could I get the tickets.
    Thank you very much.
    Lorena

  • Rebecca Villasana

    says on:
    July 8, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Good evening my name is Rebecca Villasana from Garland Texas I will be in DC during the visit of Pope Francis and would gratefully would like to be apart of this amazing visit if possible I will be traveling with my 2 sisters.

    Thank you
    Rebecca

    • Joseph Feeley

      says on:
      July 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      If you would like to see the Pope, please review the events page, tickets page, and travel information page. If you have any specific questions about accomodations or special requests, email info@worldmeeting2015.org

      • Kimberly Marchman

        says on:
        September 23, 2015 at 3:33 am

        Hi Josh,
        I was wondering if there was any way I could have my daughter with significant disabilities be in the audience at St. Patrick’s to receive a blessing with the group attending?

        • Joseph Feeley

          says on:
          September 24, 2015 at 12:51 pm

          Hi Kimberly,

          While I don’t believe it is possible at this time, you can try to contact the Archdiocese via email: office@saintpatrickdc.org
          or by phone: 202-347-2713.

          Joseph Feeley
          Website Manager
          PopeFrancisVisit.com

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            February 8, 2016 at 10:18 pm

            Why do I bother calinlg up people when I can just read this!

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        February 8, 2016 at 8:02 pm

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    • Seston

      says on:
      February 8, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for wrigtni!