Pope Week: Thursday
Good morning. It’s Thursday of Pope Week. Today, Pope Francis gives a much-anticipated address to Congress, then flies to New York for his Friday activities.
The temperatures are getting cooler, but Philadelphia still might find it hot under the national spotlight. The national press is honing in on some of the city’s leading Catholic personalities, giving us a fresh look at familar faces. Three things to know today:
• The Washington Post profiles Archbishop Charles Chaput. Which is interesting, but the real meat is the direct transcript of the Post’s Q&A email exchange with Chaput. His prickly directness is on full display, as is his contempt for the narrative that sets him up as a rebel against the liberal papacy of Francis.
It also doesn’t sound like Philadelphia has always been a fun assignment for him:
Chaput: I didn’t want to leave Denver. I expected to retire there. Colorado was a great place to serve; wonderful people and a healthy Church. But I didn’t try to avoid Philadelphia. It’s one of the great cities and local Churches in the United States. I felt that was true when I arrived, and even more so now.
Emotionally I think it’s hard for anyone to move anywhere in his 60s, and Philadelphia is a close-knit environment. So the first couple of years, with all the problems in the Church here at the time, were a little rough. Things are much better now. Whether I fit in – that’s a question better asked of our people and priests.
• Huffington Post profiles Project HOME Founder Sister Mary Scullion, “the Philadelphia nun inspired by Pope Francis to stamp out poverty.” She talks about raising $1.5 million from the visit to combat homelessness, poverty and mental illness in the city:
We call it the Francis Fund, and you can donate online as little or as much as you want and choose if you want it to go toward food pantries, homelessness and other areas. We’re working with groups of all different faiths, not only in Philadelphia but in our sister city of Camden [New Jersey]. They include projects to make places handicapped-accessible, help women who have been trafficked get housing — we are giving a group $100,000 to buy a house — people with special needs such as the mentally ill, as well as one organization, Prevention Point Philadelphia, that wants to install showers for the homeless like the pope did in Rome.
It’s this huge time of civic pride for Philly, but we also wanted to have a lasting impact on the lives of those on the margins.
• Just for fun, watch Stephen Colbert’s Wednesday night routine about the papal visit:
• Visit PhillyMag.com throughout the day for #PopeInPhilly news. And be sure to check out our Complete Pope in Philadelphia Survival Guide.