Even for a man whose every day is managed and choreographed to the moment, the last six days in the United States must have been extraordinarily micro-managed. All the more surprising then, that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, took opportunities to break out of script and send a message to the watching world.
On Saturday, after landing in Philadelphia, the Holy Father halted his motorcade—his entire entourage—to step out of his car and walk over to a family on the sidelines, to bless and kiss their son, their brother, Michael Keating, who cannot walk or talk but is every bit a child of God.
Barricades held back pressing crowds at every appearance the Pope made, and a child in a wheelchair could easily be overlooked at such occasions. In the style he has become known for, the Holy Father noticed the Keating family and recognized Michael as an individual among thousands in need of recognition and understanding, and blessing.
Pope Francis’ simple gesture of blessing and warmth, extended myriad times in his short visit to our country, has brought joy and encouragement to many who never anticipated a personal encounter with him, or an opportunity to get close. His message to the rest of us? I think it’s simply that we, all of us, need to take time for people like Michael. And if we do, they will bestow blessings on us.
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