|Pope Francis addresses joint meeting of U. S. Congress|
I certainly did! One could have spent one’s entire time in the pulpit discussing any one of the Pope’s major addresses or sermons, or reflecting on the impact of his presence and personality on his hearers in the various venues where he appeared, and on the tens of millions who viewed any of his itinerary on television. You did not have to agree with everything the Pope said in order to be inspired by him.
One very evident gift of this revered leader of the Roman Catholic Church is his amazing sense of the occasion, a rare quality even among those accustomed to public speaking. The Pope did not have just one message for all, like most of our political candidates. His words were audience specific and always right on target, whether to the thousands at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, or the inmates at Curran-Fromhold Prison, or the families of the victims of 9/11 at the World Trade Center Memorial. There were some common themes, of course, like justice, service, the role of the church, and the importance of dialogue, but each message was a prophetic challenge for that particular occasion.