WASHINGTON - Pope Francis will arrive in Washington, D.C. on September 22 and will spend his time meeting with the president, celebrating mass at the National Shrine and speaking to Congress.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, said he hasn’t seen the text of Pope Francis’ speeches, but thinks his message will call for a sense of solidarity.
"One of the great gifts of this Holy Father is he has a way of touching hearts and touching consciences and I think he's going to be calling us to look around and see what more can we do - and do it together to benefit everybody," he said.
Part of the buildup to the Pope’s visit has to do with what Cardinal Wuerl calls the ‘Francis Effect.’ He says Pope Francis has inspired a renewed interest and excitement about embracing faith and that this excitement can be seen in people from across the board – from Catholics, members of other religions, and even those who have no faith at all.
"They see, I believe, something that is beautifully human relating us to God," he while saying part of the 'Francis Effect,' is encouraging people to do good things to others."
"We’re asking everybody to accept the challenge and to do something good for somebody else, Wuerl said. " Make that your gift to Pope Francis when he comes."
Wuerl expects Pope Francis to touch on the immigration crisis around the world – including issues in the U.S. and Europe.
The choice of giving speeches in Spanish comes down to several factors, Wuerl believes, including Spanish is Pope Francis’ first language and that the Washington, D.C. area is home to many Spanish speaking people.
Cardinal Wuerl will play a special role during the Holy Father’s trip. He will be with Pope Francis for his entire visit to D.C. – a job he says he is looking forward to very much.
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