Special to The Texas Catholic
Recently it was announced that our own Pope Francis had been selected from a far-flung field of newsmakers and news-shakers to be the cover person on TIME magazine. One of the local TV channels wanted a reaction to this from a diocesan clergy person. Our own communications director, Annette Gonzales Taylor, put them in touch with me.
Immediately I accepted the honor of giving a local spin to this news. I had just been reading some reports about the wonderful simplicity of Pope Francis as he welcomed the poor and the sick and the young and the old and the workers and the world leaders with the same love and attention. He also holds up the needs of all created things as a priority of our times.
Getting my facts in line, my first order of business was to read the reports of the pope’s activities as he embraced the sick man in the plaza of St. Peter’s; as he did not let a young boy distract him during an audience; as he gave instructions to his almoner to give monetary blessings to the poor of Rome.
I read his letters and his sermons at the daily Mass for the workers of the Vatican. He is the first pope from this hemisphere! As such he admonishes us to celebrate the great Marian Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as the Mother of God for our hemisphere. He talked to the Knights of Columbus and urged them to be like St. Joseph, He called them to be “men of quiet strength, integrity and fidelity”.
All these images were dancing around in my brain as I went down to the American Airlines Plaza for my two minutes of exposure to the 4 p.m. news. I went down early as I had never been in that area of Dallas for the past thirty years.
I discovered a free parking zone. Immediately I spied two sparrows foraging in the bushes near a parking lot. Whipping out my binoculars I identified them to be white-throated sparrows. A blue jay fussed at me from a nearby tree.
The TV studio was not far away and I arrived 30 minutes early. The cameramen welcomed me to come in and have a cup of coffee. Soon I was given a portable microphone. I sat at a table as the news was initiated with the warning that the new Hunt Bridge had been closed due to falling ice.
In a twinkling of a eye the two-minute spot on Pope Francis was finished and I was on my way to hear Advent confessions.
My first debriefing of the interview came from the Vatican. They were amazed that anyone would make a fuss about Pope Francis being on the cover of TIME. He had already made the front covers of more than 1,250 periodicals throughout the world.
Genuineness and simplicity will always be a front page story.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.