Editorial: Pope in Philly

Posted on Sep 30, 2015

There is so much beauty in the world that you cannot explain. It is the sort of beauty that brings an unconscious tear to your eye, a longing for something that you cannot quite grasp, or a sudden silence in meditation that you do not even realize until it’s ten minutes later.

I have not been a particularly religious person in a number of years, but I am very spiritual and I think my fall out with religion has been more due to political reasons than spiritual ones. As Pope Francis was in Philadelphia over the weekend, I had the opportunity to visit St. John Neuman’s church in my neighborhood during a photo shoot for the local newspaper.

Watching the pilgrims as they walked around this magnificent Church that I take for granted in passing every day made me look upon the structure with new eyes. Every person, no matter what language they were speaking, could communicate with each other in this shared awe and purpose.

During a lull in the activity, I walked into the church to sit for a moment and reflect upon the activities of the weekend and out of curiosity for something so familiar to my childhood. I was awestruck immediately by the beauty of the interior. I remembered my childhood obsession with stained glass. I remembered counting all of the lights and all of the windows during Sunday Mass. As unconscious tears sprang into my eyes, I realized why all of these people from all over the world had traveled to Philadelphia for the weekend. It was to feel this feeling that I was feeling. This sense of community, beauty, awe, and something bigger than us.

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