By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
I have to admit that the current pope has done some impressive things during this first year of his leadership. It seems that nearly every day some article or some photo shows up in the news which brings gasps of admiration (or dismay) from the world.
He made his first trip outside the Vatican to visit migrants in Lampedusa. His homily asked the question of Genesis posed to Cain, “Where is your brother?” He asked a further question of who was grieving for the persons, Muslim and Christian, who had perished on the journey seeking a more dignified life for themselves and their families.
When Pope Francis was at the World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, he addressed the bishops assembled there and told them that the results of all pastoral efforts do not depend on a wealth of resources, but rather on the creativity of love. That creativity is evident in all that Pope Francis says and does.
For example just recently he took the crisis of the Middle East into mind and called for a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria, the Middle East, and the world to be held on Sept. 7, 2013, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace. The Holy Father reminds us that “peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected” and that “all men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace.”
Prayer always has to be the greatest of our resources. It has to be used daily and for immediate action on pressing needs. We cannot stand idle in the midst of evil, but our prayers have to be mingled with others of good will for the rule of God to prevail over all evil.
Two impressive photos came out of the World Youth Day. One was an aerial panorama of the 3 million people attending the Papal Mass at the Copacabana beach at the closing of the event. Giant screens and first-aid tents and humans packed together on the sand and in the water dominated the picture. This pope can draw a multitude to the seashore much like Jesus did many years ago.
But equally or more impressive for me was the photo of Pope Francis sitting in a portable confessional absolving the sins of some young pilgrims on July 26. I know he had 3,000 other priests helping with the load of penitents, but he can come and help out with confessions at Holy Cross any time he is in town.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.