All-Things-Pope: University Community Celebrates Pope’s U.S. Visit
The large screen in the lower level of the Barone Campus Center had the full attention of more than 100 students, staff and faculty who gathered at a “Pope Watch Party” to watch Pope Francis address the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.
Jesuit colleges and universities around the country gathered to do the same.
In his message, the Pope reflected on the contributions of four Americans—Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton—each of whom worked selflessly on the behalf of the common good. Restoring hope, eliminating polarization, concern for the well-being of all individuals and of the earth, and openness to dialogue were among the many themes the Pope addressed.
After his speech, students and faculty talked about what they had heard him say. Students were surprised and pleased at the Pope’s “non-negative” tone.
“He used the Catholic term ‘integral’ several times,” said Dr. Nancy Dallavalle, vice president for Mission and Identity, “because his ‘bridge-building’ role requires a sense of the whole—a fundamental commitment to unity. Unlike every other person who addresses Congress, his ‘district’ is the world.”
Fr. von Arx attended the address in Washington at the invitation of State Rep. Jim Himes.
The Pope Watch Party was one of several activities this week in celebration of the Pope’s first visit to the U.S.
On Monday, the Kelley Center Presentation Room was packed for a panel on “Ecology and Catholic Social Teaching” to discuss the Pope’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’. Dr. Paul Lakeland outlined the basics of the document, and Drs. David Downie, Dina Franceschi and Jim Biardi discussed the encyclical as it related to their areas of expertise in politics, economics and environmental studies. A lively Q&A followed. The event was co-sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies and the Center for Faith and Public Life.
Throughout the week, senior Allanah Dykes (pictured below with Lucas and the “Pope”) has been interviewing Fairfield students about the importance of faith, how they have found their strength, and dealt with adversity. (Check out their videos on Facebook and Twitter!) Dykes was selected as part of a 50-member “digital street team” by the @PopeIsHope campaign to promote goodwill and hope, especially to millennials. Friday she’ll be in Central Park in New York, gathering stories and tweeting them back to campus. Follow #JesuitEducated and #GoodIsWinning.
And on Sunday, September 27, approximately 80 students will travel by bus to attend the Papal Mass in Philadelphia. The trip is sponsored through Campus Ministry.