With the papal visit to the United States now less than two months away, American Catholics are gearing up to greet Pope Francis in a myriad of creative ways. There’s Flat Francis popping up in every state in the union, murals being painted in Philadelphia, and Twitter training for bishops.
Now, add two more projects seeking to highlight the pope’s advocacy for the poor.
In New York, where Francis will visit to address the United Nations and pray at Ground Zero, the local Catholic Charities agency there is urging “people of all faiths” to welcome the pope by recording a short video reciting a passage from the Gospel of Matthew.
America’s most famous Catholic, called simply “Stephen from New York” in the video, contributed to the campaign:
Stephen Colbert, busy gearing up for his September debut as host of The Late Show on CBS, took time to welcome Pope Francis and read a verse from Matthew 25:
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me …
In Washington, where Francis begins his US trip and is scheduled to address a joint meeting of Congress and visit the Catholic Charities agency there, Catholic leaders hope to mobilize 100,000 lay Catholics to do some good before the pope arrives.
The campaign is called Walk With Francis, and the idea is to get people to commit to doing some service and post their pledges on social media with the hashtag #WalkWithFrancis. Launched Wednesday, the project’s website reports “241 individuals pledging to walk with Francis,” along with 11 parishes and organizations.
The archdiocese is also running a video contest, in which entrants record a short piece – two minutes or less — about how they serve their community, and could win four highly coveted tickets to the pope’s DC papal Mass, as well as an iPad or GoPro camera.