A Walk In Words With Pope Francis

Catholic Women Bloggers of the Mid-Atlantic Celebrate His Visit to Our Region

by Abigail Benjamin and Julie Walsh

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis

Pope Francis will make his first visit to the United States from September 22, 2015 to September 27, 2015. The Pope will visit the cities of Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia, in addition to celebrating Mass at the World Meeting of Families.

The Mid-Atlantic Conference of the Catholic Women Blogger Network (CWBN) is a lively group of writers from Virginia to New York. We feel blessed to be welcoming our Holy Father to our home region this September.

Several of our members plan to attend official events during the Pope’s visit; others will be monitoring them from their homes and communities. Regardless of our locales, our members look forward to the opportunity to #WalkwithFrancis via our reports and reflections on the Pope’s historic visit to the United States.

Select CWBN members will attend the following events during Pope Francis’s visit:

  • Arrival at Andrews Airforce Base (Washington, D.C.)
  • White House Welcoming Ceremony (Washington, D.C.)
  • Papal Parade (Washington, D.C.)
  • Canonization Mass for Blessed Junipero Serra (Washington, D.C.)
  • Address to Congress (Washington, D.C.)
  • Central Park Procession (New York City)
  • Mass at Madison Square Gardens (New York City)
  • World Meeting of Families (Philadelphia)

Other members will monitor those events and more (including the Masses, the Pope’s addresses to Congress and the United Nations, and his visit to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City) from home.

Those who have committed to posting on the Papal visit include:

Please stop back here as the Pope’s visit progresses (and after it concludes) for links to our members’ posts. This collection-point will be updated at least daily, and more frequently as necessary. New posts will be added from September 22nd through the 29th.

Please also follow our members who plan to have a heavy presence on social media during the Pope’s visit:

We hope you find that our effort to #WalkwithFrancis helps you to do the same.

Day 1 Sept 22

A Walk in Words With Pope Francis - Patti Murphy DohnFrom Patti Murphy Dohn:


“I have so many fond memories of the visits of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI here in the United States, including three occasions where I took part. It is a thrilling experience to see the Holy Father in person, whether you are up close or far away in the crowds. For most people, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” — Read more: Countdown to the first apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the United States: Part 1

“The excitement continues to build for this historic apostolic visit. Part of the anticipation has sprung from the sharing of memories by those who have participated in papal visits of the past. Pope Francis is the fourth pontiff to visit our nation. His visit will mark the tenth papal visit.” — Read more: Countdown to the visit of Pope Francis to the United States: Part 2: Remembering past papal visits

“Memorabilia vendors are as varied as their offerings. There are official vendors authorized by the various dioceses and the 2015 World Meeting of Families. There are also unofficial outlets, many of which offer cheap trinkets at a low cost to make a fast buck. Pope Francis bobble heads, anyone?” — Read more: Countdown to the visit of Pope Francis: Part 3: Papal visit merchandise, memorabilia, souvenirs, and keepsakes

“As I listened to Fr. Rosica and asked a few questions of my own, I realized how important it is for American Catholics to prepare themselves to hear the Holy Father’s message both through a prayerful opening of our hearts and minds, as well as background reading of the Holy Father’s writings.” — Read more: Countdown to the visit of Pope Francis: Part 4: Hearing the Holy Father’s message

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis - Rachel CuppsFrom Rachel Cupps:

“Last Sunday, during the homily, our Pastor stated that the U.S. President may arguably be the most powerful man in the world, but the Pope is, without question, the most important man in the world. And the current pope, Pope Francis, is making his first trip to the United States RIGHT NOW!” — Read more: The Pope is Here!




A Walk In Words With Pope Francis - Rita BuettnerFrom Rita Buettner:

“This morning as we were driving to school, I was explaining to our sons that even though I am very, very fortunate to be attending a Mass that the Pope will celebrate—with several hundred priests and bishops—I won’t actually meet him. But I still feel so blessed to be participating in his visit at all.” — Read more: A Little Pope-ourri


Melanie Rigney

From Melanie Rigney:

“Pretty amazing, the things God has done for me. And yet, if you had told me five months ago as I was struggling mightily with an issue of obedience that I would be among those sitting in the crowd for Serra’s canonization, perhaps even catching an actual glimpse of Pope Francis in the flesh, I would have laughed out loud. So I’m going to the canonization Mass tomorrow. I’ll be offering it up for the women who facilitated the parish Landings program… and for each person in attendance and the story of how God led him or her there.” — Read more: Anniversaries, Stories, and #popeindc
Day 2 Sept 23

Abigail BenjaminFrom Abigail Benjamin:

“In the end, I’m looking at attending the Papal Parade as a sort of pilgramage. I don’t have a marked seat. I don’t have a Press Pass. I don’t have a guarantee of any payoff of making this trek. Yet I know it gives God glory to just make the attempt. I know it will be a good story in 10 years for my family. I also know that I’m so blessed to have a Catholic family, that whatever I can do to pray and cheer and suffer in order for more people to have access to the grace from the Sacraments that I receive without too much effort from the Eucharist, Confession, and the Sacrament of Marriage, I’m willing to do it.” — Read more: Why I’m Taking My Small Children to See the Papal Parade

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis - Emily BormanFrom Emily Borman:

“Who is Blessed Junipero Serra? The short story is that he was born Miguel Jose on November 24, 1713 on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain. He joined the Franciscan order in 1730 and chose the name Junipero after St. Francis’ brother companion. He was a well-respected professor for almost a decade before he discerned a call to be a missionary to the New World. He left his parents, the accolades of his relatively comfortable academic position, and sailed for America. His mission work began in Mexico City, the capital of New Spain. He was soon called to California where he founded one mission in Baja California, Mexico and the first nine of 21 Spanish Missions in Alta California from San Diego to San Franciso.” — Read more: Junipero Serra: Who, where, when, what, and why

Kelly MantoanFrom Kelly Mantoan:

“We have our differences, even amongst Catholics, but to see so many believers come together in one place to celebrate our faith and attempt to grab just a glimpse of our Supreme Pontiff has to be encouraging to even the greatest skeptic. This week, hide all the haters from your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Turn on Catholic media and celebrate a truly universal gathering.” — Read more: #wmof2015 A Long Week of Me Being Overly Excited

Day 3 Sept 24

Leah LibrescoFrom Leah Libresco:

“Pope Francis makes his first visit to the United States this week, prompting reflections on the state of his papacy so far and speculation about what his legacy will be. Leah Libresco, a FiveThirtyEight staff writer and a practicing Roman Catholic, has a $10 bet with a friend riding on the success of Francis’s papacy.” — Read more: Taking the Measure of Pope Francis

“In his first visit to the United States, Pope Francis on Wednesday urged American bishops to help priests spend more time caring for the spiritual needs of their parishioners. However, American priests who wish to follow his example may find themselves stretched thin. The priest shortage leaves each of them caring for record numbers of parishioners.” — Read more: Pope Francis Called For More Work From Priests, But 20 Percent Of Parishes Don’t Even Have One

Abigail BenjaminFrom Abigail Benjamin:

“I almost stopped my 8 year old kid from buying a souvenir Vatican flag because we had already brought a large Vatican flag from home to wave during the parade. As the Mom of many children, my default answer to any child’s impromptu spending request is usually “Let’s not buy it now.” Somehow outside the security gate of the Papal Parade,  I hesitated before saying no. My hesitation was enough time for my 8 year old daughter to offer to spend her own allowance money to buy a flage. Then my husband to suggested adding another $5 from his wallet so that her younger siblings could share in the joy. If I had a metaphor for that impact of the Papal Parade, it’s that we came to the Parade with a one large family flag to wave for the Pope and we left with 5 of my children waving individual flags inside their heart for our Pope.” — Read more: Encountering the Pope as a Family

A Walk in Words With Pope Francis - Patti Murphy Dohn

From Patti Murphy Dohn:

(Throwback Thursday, Pope/President edition, #1) “President Obama is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican March 27 and there has been lots of speculation about what their conversation will entail. I did a bit of research and came up with some interesting facts about meetings of popes with our U.S. presidents.” — Read more: Meetings of Popes and Presidents: Some fun facts before the visit of President Obama with Pope Francis

(Throwback Thursday, Pope/President edition, #2) “First visit of a pope to the United States: Pope Paul VI, the first Pontiff to visit our nation, had a full day on October 4, 1965, including an address to the United Nations and a meeting with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. This was his third trip outside Italy and his only trip to our nation during his papacy.” — Read more: Catholic Throwback Thursday: Looking back at the eight meetings of popes and presidents on American soil

Day 4 Sept 25

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis - Rita Buettner

From Rita Buettner:

“I had the opportunity to attend the Pope’s Mass on Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C., with 25,000 of my closest friends. If you were there too, I’m so very happy for you! If you weren’t, I wish you could have been, and I wish we could have crowded together against the barricade as we waited for the Popemobile to pass. For now, I thought I’d reflect on how the experience has made me think about the beauty and richness of our faith.” — Read more: Reflecting on an Unforgettable Experience at the Pope’s Mass in Washington, D.C.

Brigid Hogan

From Brigid Hogan:

“I was lucky enough to see Pope Francis twice this week. On Tuesday, I was part of the relatively small delegation that greeted his first steps in the US at Andrews Air Force Base. On Thursday, I stood shoulder to shoulder with thousands, watching him address Congress and bowing our heads as he blessed the crowd – especially the children. On this week’s Catholic Stuff podcast, cohost Fr. Michael O’Laughlin said: “Expect good things… Whenever the Pope comes, amazing things result.” I’m not expecting Congress to heed the warnings and instructions the Pope gave them. I don’t expect them to even realize how excoriating his remarks are to the priorities both parties have set for our nation . . . But already this week, I have witnessed people side by side, joyful in their faith, renewed in mercy and vigor. I have seen Facebook posts honoring him . . . from people who haven’t considered themselves part of the Church for years.” — Read more: #PopeinDC: Walking Around Shining

Abigail Benjamin

From Abigail Benjamin:

“I’m not a Government Leader, but I am leader. I’m encouraged to use the Pope’s intellectual clarity to better prioritize the work that I need to do inside my family, inside my parish and inside my local community. I live in West Virginia. I go to church in Western Maryland. I live in a place where the poverty is long standing and chronic. I’m actually living, inside the poor state where I went to High School, because the housing situation inside the Washington D.C. Metro area is insane. When I heard the Pope talk about the basic need for the human family to have housing, I felt hope. I felt a sense of purpose. A family with young children needs privacy and stability. I realized that all the intense home improvement work we are doing to fix up a 850 square foot house built in 1950 and make it an elegant, and useful home for a family of 8 it part of the Pope’s blueprint for a healthy society.” — Read more: Lodging, Labor, Land: A Reflection on the Pope’s UN Speech

A Walk in Words With Pope Francis - Patti Murphy DohnFrom Patti Murphy Dohn:

As Catholics across the world prepare for Mass with Pope Francis at Madison Square Gardens, my memories are on the last visit of a pontiff to New York: Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. I led the four coach buses representing Harford County/ArchBaltimore to his April 20 Mass at Yankee Stadium. Enjoy my flashback memories of this incredible day with some of my best photos from that day. — Read more: Catholic Throwback Thursday: 2008 Yankee Stadium Mass with Pope Benedict XVI

Erin McCole CuppFrom Erin McCole Cupp:

“I wasn’t sure I had much to say about the World Meeting of Families . . . Nothing helpful to others.  Nothing that would be anything but navel-gazing.  Seriously, have you seen my navel?  No?  Then give the good Lord a nice, big “Thank You.” Then this morning, someone on Facebook asked a friend, “What’s so great about Wawa?” Hold the popephone. I may live on the border of Sheetz country these days, but I spent the bulk of my first thirty years under the warm glow of that golden rectangle emblazoned with the sleek silhouette of a Canada goose. You mean to tell me there are people who don’t know what’s so great about Wawa?  That is when I realized that I have something to say about next week’s events, something important, even something unique.  I may have left Philly and its suburbs, but Philly and its suburbs certainly never left me.  I, dear reader, have been called.  I have a mission. I have, my friends, found my WMOF blogging voice.  And thus I bring you… Seven Things You Need to Know About Popeadelphia: Your incredibly unofficial guide to the 2015 World Meeting of Families” — Read more: {SQT} We interrupt this blogging hiatus to bring you information about POPEADELPHIA

Kelly Mantoan

From Kelly Mantoan:

“In the shadow of William Penn, it’s my Seven Quick Takes recap of Thursday at The World Meeting of Families! 1. I’m so tired. Seriously, my feet are killing me. My Fitbit says I walked over six miles and had more than 90 minutes of active time. This was due to the fact that it took me all day to figure out that the upper levels of the convention center are conected but you have to walk outside to go between lower levels (or find the right escalator to take you down to the correct lower level if you’re upstairs.) I also was seriously lacking information on where different breakout sessions were located, so twice I went in the opposite direction of my desired destination and didn’t realize it until I was as far as possible from where I needed to be. BUT that’s really the worst of it. I have no complaints about anything else and I should probably just soak these dogs and offer it up for something.” — Read more: #wmof2015 in Six Miles and Seven Takes

Day 5 Sept 26

Abbey Davis DupuyFrom Abbey Davis Dupuy:

“We are each enough. I am, and you are. In the age of digital photos and Instagram and Pinterest, it’s much too easy to think we have to be practically perfect in every way. It’s a lie. God made each of us with unique gifts, and all we have to do is to use those gifts in His service and in service to the vocations to which we’ve each been called. I will never be a professional cake decorator, but I can bake a cake for my son, and it will be good enough . . .  In the spirit of embracing grace in the good enough (and with the much-loved R2D2 cake fresh in my mind), I’m sharing what I wrote for Pope Francis. Although I’ll never be Mary Oliver or T.S. Eliot, I am grateful to be a writer and to be able to share my words with you. We all have gifts. Any voice that tries to tell us otherwise is not from God. Let’s not be afraid to use what we have received to build each other up.” — Read more: Five-Minute Friday: Doubt (and getting poem-ish for Pope Francis)

Day 6 Sept 27A Walk In Words With Pope Francis - Rita BuettnerFrom Rita Buettner:

“I had had an offer to go to Philadelphia today. I realized it wasn’t going to work for my schedule, so I backed out, but even this week I was thinking about what I might be missing by not going. But sitting in our living room together, as a family, listening to Pope Francis talk about the family, I knew I was right where I needed to be.” — Read more: Watching the Pope’s Mass in Philadelphia from the comfort of our domestic church

Meg Hunter-KilmerFrom Meg Hunter-Kilmer:

“This week, everyone is talking about the Gospel. Whether they know it or not, that’s what’s happening. They love Pope Francis because he loves like Jesus. And, like it or not, we all want to know that love. So people are drawn to him–to his mercy, his joy, his tenderness. But what happens tomorrow, when he’s back in Rome and the “news” is filled with Kardashians instead of Christ? How do we live so that the wonder and joy of this week lead somewhere?” — Read more: America After Francis: 8 Ways to Keep the Francis Effect Going

These Walls - A Walk In Words With Pope Francis - AfterwardChris CapolinoFrom Chris Capolino:

What a day. What an experience…… Exhilarating. Exciting. Rousing. Humbling. Unparalleled. Divine. Lucky. Teary-Eyed. Blessed. And oh yeah, crowded. I’m thrilled to relive the historic Papal visit to our city with you, my friends! Thank you for stopping by to share our journey of faith as well as the fun,  the fervor and even the crazy…. And boy was it crazy. But never unpleasant. Because despite the throng, the waiting, the disorder,
these were God’s beautiful people congregated in one place, for one reason. And unabashedly excited to be in His presence and professing the faith. As you know,  we were extremely blessed to be chosen in our diocesan lottery to attend the papal mass at Madison Square Garden in NYC on Friday….!!!!” — Read more: Papa Rocks The Garden! Join Us In The Big Apple As We Relive Pope Francis’s Historic Visit

Joy BaileyFrom Joy Bailey:

“By the time most of you read this Pope Francis will be home, and we will be returning to the day-to-day routine of the week — in my case with a bit more hope and a renewed sense of purpose.  Attending the Festival of Families last Saturday was exhausting and amazing, as so many things are when you share your days with little people.” — Read more: Things to remember about when the Pope came to town

Abigail Benjamin
From Abigail Benjamin:

“I have watched hours of the Pope coverage last week. I’ve prayed along side my family. I got to cheer on the Pope briefly in person. Yet my most important take-away message from the Papal Visit happened inside a closed event that I didn’t attend. My Pope got into a Fiat. What I learned from that event is that if I work very hard to conform my life to Christ, then I can be free to express my individual spirituality in unique ways.” — Read more: Be Brave and Get Into A Fiat: What I Learned From My Pope’s Visit to DC

From Mary Lenaburg:

Y’all I am a missionary. You are a missionary. Embrace life as it is, not as you wish it to be. Remember that you are not alone. The Lord is right beside you guiding your steps. 
Let us all take Pope Francis’s and St. Junipero Serra’s example of loving and loving then loving some more and then some more on top of that, and let’s make this world a better place.” — Read more: Papa Francis and Mary… Missionaries

Melanie Rigney

From Melanie Rigney:

“This trip will have been a complete failure if we all return to our daily lives, unchanged by Francis’s reminders about what Jesus desires from us:  Repairing rifts in our families and communities. Ministering to our brothers and sisters in need. Honoring and defending life at all stages, starting from the moment of conception. Protecting the environment in the largest sense of the word. Offering more mercy and joy to all we encounter, every day.” — Read more: Defend Us In Battle

A Walk In Words With Pope Francis

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