(Catholic Telegraph) Washington won’t be business as usual after papal visit, local delegation predicts

Pope Francis enters House of Representatives Chamber to address joint meeting of Congress

Pope Francis enters the House of Representatives Chamber to address a joint meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington Sept. 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

My article “Washington won’t be business as usual after papal visit, local delegation predicts” appears in the Cincinnati Catholic Telegraph.

Here’s the lede:

Washington, D.C. — Two months ago, Benjamin Garcia, a Chilean native studying to become a priest at Catholic University of America, learned he’d play a role in Pope Francis’ Sept. 23 canonization of Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Two days before the Mass, he was told he would bear the papal staff.

Standing on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol, having arrived, one of thousands, hours early to secure a spot to watch the papal address to Congress on jumbotrons, Garcia described shaking the pope’s hand and carrying the ferula, which was thinner than expected.

“My hands are kind of very big; it’s hard to keep it in your hand,” he said. “You carry a cloth to grab it, which makes it harder because it’s light.”

Hours before the pope’s historic address to a joint meeting of Congress, Garcia said he hoped the pope would discuss what he called the country’s two greatest sources of suffering: lack of religious freedom and abortion. He bemoaned the “atrocities of abortion,” which have surfaced in media reports, and the pressure upon Catholics to fund contraception, “which goes against our faith.”

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