I had an opportunity to break bread with Father John Manno last week. To me he is the Pope of Lycoming County. That is meant as no disrespect to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. One thing they both have in common is the ability to make everyone feel loved and appreciated no matter who or from what faith they are.
I invited my newest Webb Weekly guy, Charlie Gizenski to tag along for lunch. It just so happened Father Manno was baptizing Charlie and his wife Liz's twins lil’ Charles and Vivian on Sunday.
Of course, we talked about baseball, how great this area we call home is, the drug problem within our communities and there were plenty of jokes. I don't think Charlie knew what he was in for. The main reason we got together though was to discuss Pope Francis's visit to America.
Most impressive to Father Manno was Pope Francis's address to a joint session of Congress where he began, "I am most grateful for your invitation to address this joint session of Congress in the land of the free and the home of the brave."
"His first statement got everyone's attention and man, was it powerful." said Father John. "From there he addressed so many key issues not only to our Country but the world. He truly addressed Congress not only as the Pope but as a Christian leader for the world."
I agree with Father John, it was most impressive how Pope Francis embraces all Christians and how in touch he is with world issues. That joint session of Congress could learn much from the Pontiff.
In addressing the radical Islamic state, "Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities committed in the name of religion. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of religion, and ideology or an economic system, while safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedom."
I hope Mr. Obama listened to his words and understands them.
Pope Francis covered almost every hot topic in today's world. One of Father John and my favorites was, "The golden rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of development." This not only was intended for liberal views of abortion, but also the death penalty and anything in between.
"Life is a gift from God. Too many take it for granted today and want to downplay the true miracle it is," was Father John's take.
Father John's most favorite and moving moment was when the Pope stopped his Fiat to bless a 10-year-old disabled boy. "That just got you right there, the true love of the Pope and connection to people. Blessing that young boy and giving him a kiss."
Pope Francis showed our Country love, respect and leadership. Most importantly he gave us all an inspirational Christian message that is easily understood. The love of God and our Savior Jesus Christ is infinite. Yes, there are problems in the world, but the most important thing is not to lose sight of God, family and responsibility. The United States has been and is extremely blessed. It is important for us to lead for the good, by providing leadership, understanding and generosity for the world. The Pope also understands our need to protect the innocent from evil worldwide.
I must add that Father John and I were extremely proud of the love, respect and lending of an ear extended to the Pope by Americans from every walk of life. Father John commented, “It was a very needed and blessed event.” I could not agree more.
Pink Power! As we roll into October it's great to see so much pink around our area and being worn nationally. Pinktober has become a powerful way to bring attention to and remind everyone it's National Breast Cancer Awareness month.
From the NFL to the area high school gridiron, all the way down to the youngsters playing junior football, pink wristbands, pink socks, pink cleats - it's a pigskin pink out! What is most moving to me is how players of all ages understand and support the cause.
It's something that mothers and sons may feel uncomfortable about discussing. The pink garb provides an opportunity to point out how important the issue is and just how loved the women in that young man's life are. No discussion needed.
As I watched the Steelers/Ravens last Thursday I was first moved by the group of breast cancer survivors introduced before the game, one of those being Jerome Bettis's Mom. At half time "The Bus" received his Hall of Fame ring with his Mom present. A survivor of the dreaded disease, by her son’s side as all at Heinz Field roared with appreciation and love for both. What an amazing moment.
I know it can be uncomfortable for some but remind your mom, wife, significant other, the women in your life to get a yearly check up and mammogram if it's applicable. If they do happen to notice something out of the ordinary encourage them to immediately see a physician.
Please ladies, do not think it will just go away. It might, but the time lost if it doesn't may be the difference in you being there for your family.
An ounce of attention and prevention is worth a pound of cure and hopefully someday we do find that cure.
God Bless America.