By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
Pope Francis has come and gone.
He was like Halley’s Comet, which has a predicted schedule. It comes and everyone in the world has to reflect on what this celestial occurrence might predict; but then things settle down to a normal routine.
During his visit to Cuba and Mexico, I was able to see some of the events on television and read about some of his words in the news reports. What I saw and heard inspired many thoughts.
First of all, I was impressed by his actions as much as by his words. He met his counterpart from the Russian Orthodox Church with a once-in-a-thousand-years embrace. While traveling down the streets in the popemobile, this veteran cleric stood and waved and smiled as he kept up the pace of a comet.
But he did come to a halt every now and then to celebrate a Mass or to visit a prison or to touch a crippled child. He was not selfish in his giving of himself to those who needed a spiritual moment with the pope.
One of the highlights for me was the prayer in silence that he offered in the little room with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He sat in silent prayer as a million pilgrims also stood in silent prayer in the streets and plazas.
Another high point was when he ascended the ramp to the cross overlooking the Rio Grande between Juarez and El Paso. Silently he prayed for all of us who have to make dangerous crossings in our lives.
Of course, the commentators and the journalists had to make some hay while the papal sun was crossing their territory.
So we heard about the pope “losing his cool” when pulled into a crowd. We heard about the pope commenting that it is the duty of the disciple of Jesus to build bridges rather than walls.
He did speak to his bishops in Mexico that they had to be leaders in bringing the violence of the drug trade to a halt. He spoke to the bishops of Texas, who were there so that they could not grow weary in this Year of Mercy from asking for an end to the violence of the death penalty.
Pope Francis has gone back to Rome. We are still here working and praying to stay in the orbit of holy Christian-Catholics.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.