World Meeting has empowered us to show Christ’s love

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Pilgrims from Nigeria! (Gina Keating/CATHOLIC SUN)
Pilgrims from Nigeria! (Gina Keating/CATHOLIC SUN)

PHILADELPHIA — I’ve been asked what’s it like being at the World Meeting of Families and I would say it’s been a blessing. Seeing thousands of laity, religious, clergy and individuals traipsing through the gigantic convention center is humbling.

Their witness speaks volumes about our faith; we love our creator, we want to honor Jesus in all we do, and we want to love as He did.

The keynote speakers and speakers at the breakout sessions — all of whom are a wealth of information — have graciously shared their expertise and enthusiasm for the Catholic Church in ways that empower us to really and truly be disciples of Christ.

If your faith was lukewarm before last Monday it has certainly reached the boiling point!

As someone who wasn’t raised in the faith, or in anything at all, this is nirvana for me.

Staying in a Philly home with creaking wood floors, ancient window casements and a real cellar — the walls are stone — is worth sacrificing sleep to hear old family stories.

Selfie with Fr. Jude Nwigwe, who is attending the World Meeting of Families with 110 pilgrims from Nigeria. He said he can't wait to return home to his parish of 7,000 and share the pope’s message. (Gina Keating/CATHOLIC SUN)
Selfie with Fr. Jude Nwigwe, who is attending the World Meeting of Families with 110 pilgrims from Nigeria. He said he can’t wait to return home to his parish of 7,000 and share the pope’s message. (Gina Keating/CATHOLIC SUN)

The city was founded by our forefathers whose faith is reflected in its rich history and within the fabric of the communities that live here.

Foreign to me are the generations of families that are born, raised and buried in the same Catholic Church. The town of Roxborough where Joyce and I are staying is quaint, cozy, all-American and filled with cousins, second cousins and first cousins removed! This place oozes Catholic fidelity and love of family.

And not everyone who lives here are downtown; the aged, sick and disabled may opt to pass on the experience but I would argue they ARE the experience.

Pope Francis has shown us how to be humble by his very actions. He speaks with the eloquence of a master theologian but delivered gently and with care so that every last person — from the heads of states to the undereducated — can grasp his message of love and mercy.

I’m at home today with Joyce’s cousin and her husband who was diagnosed with ALS. In the normalcy of their day it may escape them to know how loving and tender they are to each other. I smile each time Ann calls her husband, “love,” and I admire how she dotes on him with unceasing patience.

She anoints him each day with blessed holy oil and together they talk during morning therapy in their room. I have a front row seat to the corporal works of mercy.

This is what our Holy Father speaks of, this is why Christ came into the world — to love.

Follow Gina Keating on Twitter at @Keatingrus.

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