Blessed by Pope Francis

“A better world for ALL humankind!”     This is the clear message I hear from Pope Francis visit to Washington, New York, and Philadelphia. Even as a non-Roman Catholic, a Presbyterian Pastor, I feel blessed to have this opportunity these past few days to hear what this great “unifier” boldly, has to say.   My personal challenge will be in integrating what I hear into my life. This challenge in mind, I have prepared this blog to share with others.

Packed with carefully crafted insights, I share through this blog links to the speech to the congress and the homily at St. Peter’s.

One short statement made by Pope Francis in concluding his speach to the to the congress:

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.

God bless America!”


Link to Speech to congress:


Link to Homily during Evening Vespers at St. Peter’s Cathedral:



John Buchanan’s recent blog, “The Preacher’s Weekly Offering[1], hit a nerve.  While in the past I have written about not missing preaching, I have found there are truly aspects of the mystery of preaching I do truly miss.  For two years I have been on disability focusing issues that have kept me away from regular pastoral, adminstrative and pulpit work within the church. This blog, with a focus on preaching, helped me address some of my own feelings — now missing the discipline of offering my gifts to God through preaching.

For those who are retired or finding themselves away from the weeklly discipline of preaching, I commend these words from John Buchanan — who says:

What I miss most, I have discovered, is not so much the preaching itself but the preparing, the rhythm, the demand and discipline. We develop a weekly routine, most of us do: Bible study, historical, theological, literary research, making connections between the text and life. Text leads to serious biblical inquiry which leads to what the theologians have said which leads to literature, poetry and the daily newspaper. I now know that it was my spiritual discipline, my devotions, in addition to the work of preparing. As I worked I thought, struggled, wrestled, prayed in desperation, sometimes with tears in my eyes at the profundity and beauty of what I was reading and pondering. And I now conclude that the sermon, weak, flawed and so very human, is the preacher’s weekly offering to God, the work of our hands which the Psalmist suggested, God just might prosper. (Psalm 90)[2]

Are you retired?  Do you miss preaching?  What about the idea of preaching as a “weekly offering”?  Lots to think about!


[2]    Ibid