In preparation for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September, let us take the time to consider the theme of his trip, “Love is Our Mission.” To me, this phrase is designed to be purposeful and direct. Our mission and purpose as Catholics is to go into the world and be apostles to our neighbors and love is what we are called to do for all of our neighbors. As Catholics, we are called to love one another, but many people in today’s society have misunderstood the true meaning of love. To remind ourselves what love really is, the well-known passage from 1 Corinthians can help:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)
In these next four months before Pope Francis comes to Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, DC, let us try to emulate his mission of love in our lives. In the Jesuit elementary school where I also teach Religion, we have started planning how we will ready our students for the coming of Pope Francis to Washington, DC. It made me realize how we adults in the faith also need to be ready! There are many ways to prepare our hearts for love and the anticipation of the visit of our Holy Father. Daily Prayer, regular celebration at Mass, and Confession are constant reminders of God’s love for us will help strengthen our own bonds with Him, while we wait in anticipation for the visit of the Holy Father, keeping in mind that “Love is Our Mission.”
Between now and September, information about the visit will be spread throughout the media, and despite this abundance of information, we must still remember the importance of readying our hearts. Now is the time to invite people to open up their hearts to love, hope, and peace in the world. In this digital age, we can get everyone involved! Did you know that Pope Francis has a Twitter account? Follow him at @Pontifex for his inspirational tweets about love and our mission to spread it. For more information about Pope Francis and to learn more about how you can be a loving apostle to your neighbor, visit the Catholic Apostolate Center’s Pope Francis Portal!
Krissy Kirby is a teacher in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
Check out Catholic Apostolate Center Director Fr. Frank Donio, S.A.C. as he discusses Pope Francis on Twitter!