the Whole Wide World!

Mass in The Grand Hall

I’ve known about the World Meeting of Families for months.  I’ve prepared to go for the past couple of weeks.  But it wasn’t until today that it hit me…the Whole Wide World had been invited!!  

Not just our bus of pilgrims, not just our diocese, not just Pennsylvanian’s but they really meant…the Whole Wide World was invited! 


Not just me, not just our bus, not just the faithful in Pennsylvania but literally tens of thousands of others from…the Whole Wide World! (And they are predicting the city of Philadelphia will have approximately 1.5 million people on its streets beginning tomorrow.)

This great epiphany came as I stood amongst a sea of other Catholics during the final Mass this morning for the World Meeting of Families held in the Grand Hall of the Philadelphia Convention Center. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, presided; as well as, being joined on the altar by a plethara of other fellow Bishops and priests.  It was magical and breathtaking and you could feel the commitment of faith from those around you!  

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia
Then at the moment Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia said,

“At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…”

 It hit me! That’s when I looked to my left to grab the hand of a Vietnamese woman and then to my right to have my hand held firmly by a Mexican man.  Here I was in the middle of two different Countries and the three of us were reciting Our Father’s Prayer, as a part of…the Whole Wide World


The tears that fell from that holy moment only helped to brighten my view now on all the others who were in the room.  A cuban couple in front of me. Koreans behind & to the left.  Nigerians to my far right.  And fellow Americans directly behind.  I believe we all felt this immense connection of being a part of something much bigger than us all.  We were family, familia, One Catholic and Apolstolic faith! We were but a small part of a faith that is entrenched in…the Whole Wide World.



How fitting it was that this clarity came under the recitation of Our Father’s Prayer.  The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer the entire Church says every single day at every Mass and it is part of the Communion Rite. Jesus taught The Lord’s Prayer to his disciples when they asked how to pray (cf. Mt 6:9-13, Lk 11:2-4) and it signifies our communion with God and the fellowship we share with one another. In this prayer, the people join their voices to pray for the coming of God’s kingdom and to ask God to provide for our needs, forgive our sins, and bring us to the joy of heaven.

And peope in the Whole Wide World are invited to profess this!

Won’t you join us too?

these hugs n’ blessings are sent to the far corners of the world today!

ps- Papa Francis arrives tomorrow in Philadelphia and…the Whole Wide World can hardly wait!

The Spirit of Cooperation

The Important Tools of a Bus Captain

And so it begins…

Day One of our Pilgrimage.

Thousands of thoughts run through my head.  The sights, the sounds and the people.  Ah yes, those smiling people!

Smiling People

From the moment of arrival, to the sluffing off toward our hotel rooms from a full-day of travel, there is an electic under-current of anticipation surrounding…those smiling people.

We are entering into pilgrimage together.  Meeting people we’ve never known, absorbing information we must learn, and traversing through detail after detail in preparation.  And still they smile.

Ever mindful to stop for prayer. (I can even hear their smiles there.)

We read on our Smart-Phones, as we traveled, what Pope Francis said today when he addressed Congress:

“We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.  The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States.  The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience”

And when he said this, I bet he was smiling.

I know this because I saw the JOY today from those who put this very spirit into action.  We “moved forward together as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating genererously for the common good;” and despite the challenges along the way we “pooled our resources and talents & resolved to support one another with respect for our differences,” and so we smiled.

And with the dawning of a new day tomorrow…I’m quite certain we shall smile some more!

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!  Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to him, bless his name! Psalm 100:1-4

may these hugs n’ blessings…make you smile!