What an amazing day this is here in Washington, D.C. where we are preparing for the National Christ Child Society Conference this weekend, when Christ Child members from all over the country are making their way here to learn from and be inspired by each other! Just a few thoughts are surfacing through a lot of joy and emotion.
First, this town was ready for Pope Francis.
Just take a look at the Christ Child Opportunity Shop–which sells antiques and thrift items–and its window prepared by the Washington, D.C. chapter to welcome Pope Francis. Buy an antique, help a child, get a blessing!
And in another way, each of us, and our local Catholic institutions, have prepared for an ongoing experience with this Pope. Styled Walk with Francis, all over the United States people are answering the call to pray, act and serve in response to the Pope’s call to help the most vulnerable among us.
Of course this has been our focus since 1887, thanks to the vision of our founder, Mary Virginia Merrick, Servant of God. And it’s so exciting that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s, through the Washington Archdiocese have chosen to honor “Miss Mary” as a “Saint Among Us”. Read more about her on the new Canonization web page, and learn more about her and “like” her on the new MVM Facebook page. And pass them on to friends and family!
For me, it’s been unique to be here at the time of the Pope’s visit because the canonization of Fr. Junipero Serra,
who established the California mission system, has brought so many Catholics from my new home area of Monterey, California to celebrate. In fact I toured the Carmel Mission with Deb Low of the NCCS board just this August and I took this shot in the museum of St. Junipero’s work.
Two of my new friends are Rose Diaz, formerly of the Washington, D.C. Chapter, and her daughter Solange Hansen. They introduced me to Fr. Mike Russo, Francis Factor blogger and media correspondent for the papal visit here this week with the press corps. I know that our early meetings about forming a new Monterey area Christ Child chapter are inspired by this Pope’s focus on the most vulnerable among us.
But back to today. The town was joyful, the traffic was light,
families were gathering to watch the Pope make his way across town.
From the President’s office, he went to celebrate Mass with bishops and cardinals at St. Matthew’s, right across the street from a former colleague of mine from Microsoft. Thanks to Pamela for making a point of sending me her photo of the Pope entering the church from her office window.
Carolyn Pumphrey, NCCS Executive Director, was thrilled to receive these photos from her daughter Megan of Megan’s friend’s sister being embraced by the Pope today. Blessings all around!
Which makes me feel that while “watching Francis” is pretty amazing, the real earthly and celestial payday is in “walking with Francis” as the Christ Child Society does every day in 43 cities across the United States.
Welcome to Washington, all Conference attendees, and may the spirit be with us and shine back out through our friendships and our work. Our “walk” is 128 years in progress. Let’s take it into the future with gusto!