Our guest blogger is Gina Loehr, who wrote about meeting Pope Francis in the May 2015 issue of St. Anthony Messenger.
It feels a bit like Christmas. I’ve been waiting a whole year to attend the World Meeting of Families and now the event is inching closer. Just a few more days! Finally, all of the planning and prayer is about to come to fruition. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.
It was September ninth, 2014, when the letter from Archbishop Chaput arrived inviting my husband and I to speak at the Congress. We’ve been working with the team of organizers ever since to prepare our talk, arrange travel plans, and explore the relevant theological themes. Well in advance of the logistics of event planning, however, the leaders of this global gathering put together a beautiful document, Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. This “preparatory catechesis” outlines ten topics that affect families, laying the groundwork for the sessions that will be going on at the Congress.
But the Congress and the catechesis aren’t the only exciting part of this package. Pope Francis is coming too! I feel a special love for this man whom I had the privilege to meet in person while I was in Rome in October, 2013, the same month my father and I turned in the manuscript for our book about him, Saint Francis, Pope Francis: A Common Vision.
I see in the Holy Father such an authentic witness to Gospel joy, and such astonishing courage to listen and love. Presently, his attention is focused on listening to and loving families. Not only has he invoked the Synod of the Family, he has also given a weekly catechesis on the family since December of 2014. And I’m sure we are about to hear more of his thoughts regarding the daunting and delicate task of being family amidst the challenges of the modern world.
What exactly he will say remains a mystery. Like the wrapped presents sitting under a Christmas tree, I know something wonderful will soon be revealed. So stay tuned. When the big day finally comes, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it!