Just after taking the stage at the Festival of Families, Jafar Thomas couldn’t lose his smile.
“I knew I had to give a good performance to everyone who came here,” he said.
He is one of 40 eighth graders from the Jesuit elementary school Gesu School in North Philadelphia who had been preparing for weeks to dance on the festival stage in Logan Square—broadcast for thousands on the 40 Jumbotrons set up along the Parkway and other places throughout the city.
After the Mass ended on Sunday and the pope and the dignitaries filed out, I stayed behind to watch the stage being dismantled. There was a huge crew of event staff who were speedily folding and stacking the hundreds of white chairs; they were moving so quickly, it was like watching a local, operational version of Koyaanisqatsi. It occurred to me that I’d never seen Philadelphia people move so fast, but then, this whole weekend seemed to bring out the best in everyone. In fact, when I went to the front of the stage to see where the Pope had been sitting, I felt overwhelmed with pride — and relief. I gazed up at the word PHILADELPHIA in huge gold letters and said, out loud, “We did it.” Then I looked around to make sure no one heard me. I’ve spent years perfecting the art of appearing sane.
Many people have wondered if this weekend will change the city in any permanent way. That’s a tall order for a hidebound place. Read more »
Pope Francis delivers his speech during a Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis just finished celebrating Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Five takeways from the event:
The pope struck an ecumenical note, saying he wants to ally with other individuals and religions with a “pro-family” bent. “Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil – a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work – will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation,” he said during the homily. “Whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong!” Read more »
I was walking down Broad Street on my way to the National Shrine of St. Rita when two men and a woman stopped me and asked if I was a reporter. They wanted to talk to someone in the media about their experience of being homeless during Pope Mania.
They took me inside the Broad Street Ministry to find a quiet room where we could talk. The ministry was staffed with numerous volunteers, and people were eating and talking at tables in the cavernous sanctuary area upstairs. The three people I spoke with wanted to note how helpful and welcoming BSM has been to them; their concerns were in no way a reflection of the very good work that BSM is doing. Rather, they worried about the bigger picture. The first video is of a man who is staying in local a shelter with his wife. She didn’t want to be on camera, and he did not want his name used. He chose to wear sunglasses to be a bit less recognizable.
After arriving in Philadelphia Saturday morning, Pope Francis proceeded to the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City. Philly Mag’s Tom McGrathcalled the event “grand, moving.” HughE Dillon was there to capture the scene.
Briefing the media were Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, his assistant Rev. Manuel Dorantes, and a staffer from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops | Joel Mathis, Philly Mag
A Vatican spokesman was coy Saturday afternoon when asked if Pope Francis will meet with survivors of clergy sex abuse while in Philadelphia.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi noted that Pope Francis had met with abuse survivors on previous trips abroad, but the meetings had never been pre-publicized. He made the comments during a media briefing Saturday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“These meetings have never been announced before,” he said, adding that the pope would seek a “personal encounter” and not a “media sensation” in the event of a meeting with abuse survivors. News of a meeting would emerge afterward, he suggested, but he declined to confirm or deny any such meetings in advance. Read more »
Good morning. After months of preparation, Pope Francis is finally arriving in Philadelphia. Let’s have a great weekend, Philly!
Today’s official papal schedule:
8:40 a.m. Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
9:30 a.m. Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia
10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia
4:45 p.m. Visit to Independence Mall
7:30 p.m. Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The Pope addressed the United Nations today, and he once again urged nations to fight global warming.
Hoping to spur concrete commitments at upcoming climate change negotiations in Paris, Francis accused the world’s powerful countries of indulging a “selfish and boundless thirst” for money by ravaging the planet’s natural resources and impoverishing the weak and disadvantaged in the process.
This, of course, should remind you of one of the greatest tweets of all time:
The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.