© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pope's Address To Congress Is Eagerly Anticipated

Pope Francis will make history tomorrow when he becomes the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress.   Catholics in western Massachusetts are planning to be witnesses to the history.

The spiritual leader of Roman Catholics in western Massachusetts, Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski  joined other U.S. bishops for a midday prayer service Wednesday with Pope Francis at St. Mathew’s Cathedral in Washington.  Rozanski will be at the multi-religious service Friday at the 9/11 memorial in New York City.  But, he said the event he most anticipates during the pope’s six-day visit is Thursday morning’s address to Congress.

" The Holy Father brings to the Congress the gospel perspective on what leadership is and how to address the issues of the day," said Rozanski.

Rozanski will be in the spectators’ gallery of the U.S. House Chamber as the guest of Congressman Richard Neal for the pope’s address.  As for what Francis might say, there are a lot of hot button issues he could touch.

" One of the issues he's concerned about is immigration," said Rozasnki.  " He's also concerned about the refugees fleeing war."

A number of Catholic parishes will be hosting viewing parties and discussions of the pope’s address to Congress.

The address will be shown live in the dining hall at Elms College in Chicopee followed by a discussion among faculty and the audience.  Martin Pion from the college’s religious studies department said as with any major address by a major public figure there is the potential for disagreement and disappointment.

" People may come and may listen in order to hear if the pope agrees with them. If they come with that perspective some will be happy and some will be disappointed," said Pion.  " I hope people come with an open mind and after they hear what the pope says perhaps it will move people to think differently."

For people who can’t attend the Elms College “live” viewing of the pope’s address, it will be re-broadcast at the Bishop Marshall Center in Springfield at 7:30 pm Thursday, followed by a discussion.

The Springfield Diocese has chartered buses that will leave from the greater Springfield area and the Berkshires to take people to attend the pope’s outdoor mass in Philadelphia on Sept. 27th.    

Sister Cathy Homrok, who organized the trip, said the buses will leave early in the morning on the 27th, and will likely not return until the wee hours of the next day.

" This is not a sightseeing tour," said Homrok.  " This is a pilgrimage and there is gong to be some hardship involved, there will be walking, and standing for the mass."

Homrok said she’s had telephone inquires from people who don’t live in western Massachusetts, but want to get a seat on a bus to attend the pope’s Philadelphia mass.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is warning people to be aware of potential scams surrounding some of the pope’s events during his U.S. tour. 

Tickets to papal events were distributed through a lottery system from reputable sources and not through sites such as eBay or Craigslist.  

The attorney general warned that scalpers are trying to resell tickets for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Also, some tickets may be forgeries.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
Related Content