Fordham Prepares for Papal Visit to the US



(Maurizio Brambatti/Ansa/Zuma Press/MCT)


The Fordham community has been preparing for the Papal visit to the United States and to New York, at the end of the month. The current pontiff will arrive at JFK on the evening of Sept. 24 and is set to hold an evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on the same night at 6:45 p.m.

Campus Ministry, located in LL217,  will be organizing a series of viewing events for some of the major speeches that the Pope will be giving while he is in the country, including his address to Congress, as well as the speech he will give at the United Nations headquarters, in Manhattan. Debriefing and discussion sessions will be held at the church of St. Paul the Apostle, during the weekly Sunday mass. These meetings will be held the week before the pontiff’s visit (on Sept. 20) and after he has left New York City, on Sept. 27.

On Oct. 6, the theology department will be hosting a conversation with the Jesuit priest James Martin, who has written about the contemporary catholic church. The focus will be on the pontiff’s visit to the United States and what it means for its people, catholic or otherwise.

Up to 15 members of the Fordham faculty have made themselves readily available to speak with the national and international media about Pope Francis’ trip and what it means to the United States.

Patrick Hornbeck, professor and  chair of the theology department, will be working closely with the television network Al Jazeera during the visit. “I have a feeling that the thing people will talk most about is something that none of us can predict at this moment,“ Hornbeck stated, adding that “what is fascinating about Pope Francis is that he has been in many ways, a Pope of surprises … some of the most interesting things that happened during his visits to other countries, have been off-script, so to speak.” Pope Francis will be the first Pope to ever address a joint session of Congress, which will be “very, very interesting,” according to the theology chair.

The Jesuit University of New York could have been a stop during the pontiff’s trip, if time had allowed. “While it’s not surprising,” Hornbeck said, “that there wasn’t time in the schedule for a stop at Fordham, I know that I’m not the only person who is disappointed that that possibility did not come about.”

Pope Francis has been sharing a message of mercy during his Papacy, in keeping with his Jesuit identity. “The fact that pope Francis is a Jesuit has been very clear in the way he has conducted himself,” Hornbeck said, as “this is a pope who is deeply committed to the ideals of social justice that have been such a big part of the Jesuit order in the last 40 to 50 years and even before that.”

Pope Francis is the first ever Jesuit pope and the first to have been born in the Americas. Father Joseph McShane, president of Fordham University, submitted a short video this July, welcoming the pontiff to New York.
Pope Francis has been a subject of interest in the media.“I think it’s fair to say that this pope has adopted during the course of his papacy a wide series of different initiatives that seem designed to bring Catholic people and people generally closer to who he believes God is,” Hornbeck said, “and I certainly applaud that.”