Assumption meets Pope Francis

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Corinne Murphy

In little more than a week, I, Corinne Murphy, a girl who fears large crowds and gets overwhelmed by cities, will be traveling to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where over 1.5 million people are expected to celebrate mass with Pope Francis. This, of course, begs the question…why? Why would I subject myself to unavoidable large crowds and unfamiliar places? Well, to begin with, celebrating mass with Pope Francis could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. However, to me, the meaning of this trip extends far beyond its rarity. The meaning is found in community.

Ask any student about one of their favorite things about Assumption, and you are sure to hear “the community.” So important is community, in fact, that it is the first of the five guiding principles of the college. It is found in our clubs and activities, sports teams, friendships and our classrooms. Assumption truly does have a community for which we should be thankful.

With such a great community here, why is it community that I seek in the Papal Mass? In saying that I am a Catholic, I am acknowledging my need for community. The most essential community, of course, is with God; however, none of us were made to be solitary.

The Catholic Church recognizes this need for community. “Catholic” means universal. It can be difficult to recognize that while attending a small college, or our small home parishes; yet, it remains relevant and true. Pope Francis has made this abundantly clear in his efforts to embrace the whole world. His message of mercy and human dignity has welcomed individuals back into the church that may have felt ostracized by fear or misunderstanding. By making it a point to reach out to those who are marginalized, Pope Francis has emphasized a welcoming, loving community.

Like past popes, he has emphasized the need to care for the most vulnerable. Most recently, he has emphasized the need to care for refugee families. In his focus on human dignity, Pope Francis has cultivated a community within the church and worldwide community that is to be admired and appreciated.

Our “community” built of students from Assumption and Holy Cross will fill a bus and embark on a pilgrimage together. We will be spending the night in New Jersey before joining up with 1.5 million others for the Papal Mass.

Together, we will participate in the very sacrifice that brings every Catholic around the world together: the Mass. We will more fully understand the beautiful community to which we all belong.

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