With the Pope…but Weirdly.

pope1Two years ago, when I first heard about the possibility of the Pope visiting America, I took for granted that we would be there. Of course we would be there! It’s Philadelphia! From Alaska, it’s not the easiest journey, but certainly easier than travelling domestically, and what an excitement to see the Holy Father on our own land. I’m actually thinking that, when I first heard about this possibility, Pope Benedict XVI was still our Holy Father. Bear with my fuzzy brain.

Yet here we are, and I’ve barely managed to watch any coverage at all. What kind of Catholic am I these days? My parents, who are not of the faith, excitedly shared their joy with me about the coverage they watched of the Pope landing. One of my daughters, who watched the coverage at her school, casually mentioned, “Does President Obama have two daughters? Because they got to see the Pope today, and I didn’t.”

I played with the same reaction–it’s hard not to have a wee bit of envy, imagining an environment in which our Holy Mother Church and her earthly leader at the helm is actually celebrated at large for a change. But once the time came to make plans to go, I didn’t even ponder the possibility. 

Two years ago, our youngest daughter was 5. Traveling for pleasure, exploration, and discovery was becoming, again, a possibility in our minds, while we also wondered whether we’d ever be blessed with more children. Fast forward two years, and our family size has grown from 6 to 11 due to the custody of one child being restored, the adoption of one precious guy who just turned 3 years old this week (CHEERING!!!), the birth of a beautiful little girl, and the long-term fostering of two children who may- or-may-not-be-staying-permanently-who-knows. Thank you, God. We’re overwhelmed with your charitable answer to our question!

I submitted my FAFSA the other day for grad school and got the following error:


So, my enthusiasm for jumping on an airplane to get to Philadelphia with my family this year shrank to basically zero. It turns out, there is a limit to my willingness to suffer for the faith.

However, this week has been brimming with (coffee and) solidarity as I cherish my family members, and especially, my husband. He and I have been utterly devoid of opportunities for conversation lately, let alone times of rejuvenation and relaxed connection. I have been really consciously trying this week, more than most weeks, to keep a positive attitude and demeanor. It is a choice, and what a calming influence it has on the whole family, and especially, him. I pray for the grace to continue this, because I like having lots of happiness in my family. It’s good for everyone.

I find great strength in knowing the Vicar of Christ on earth is walking on American soil this week and praying for me and my family personally, and all of you. We are truly blessed! If you are not among the fortunate souls in attendance this week, may God grant you the time and space to watch the footage of Pope Francis and to receive the peace of Christ ever available in our Holy Mother the Church.


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