Today was magical. There’s really no other word for it. Thanks to the generosity of Chris Mominey — former superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Syracuse and currently the secretary of Catholic education for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — I was able to attend Pope Francis’ speech at Independence Mall and later pray with him (and a few hundred thousand of our closest friends) at the Festival of Families.

Sitting on the lawn at Independence Mall, the diverse face of the modern Church, the melting pot of America and the universal love of Pope Francis was all around me. I heard conversations in English, in Italian, in Spanish. There were old folks and tiny babies. We all clearly came from different places in the world and in life and yet were drawn together for this man and the message of faith, joy and love he delivers. (Further evidence: the simultaneous shouting and raising of smartphones as soon as his popemobile came cruising onto the Mall, and the way we all laughed at his joke about mothers-in-law.)

For details on his addresses — and they were both pretty incredible, most especially his unscripted riff on families at the festival — go here and here. For scenes from the day and some special highlights from the talks, scroll down.








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