This past Friday, I was invited to be a part of an interfaith gathering of 400 clergy around the US. It was a distinguished group of men and women that I was honored to be a part of. Pope Francis communicated boldly that no matter what we believe, we must not use our beliefs to hurt one another, rather we must learn to respect and live in peace. His words rang with authority and power as we were sitting in the very place where the World Trade Center towers collapsed 14 years ago. Afterwards, I had the privilege and honor to meet Pope Francis briefly. We greeted each other with a handshake and I was able to say: “God bless you.” It was an honor for me to meet the most influential person in the world. I will be forever grateful to have been invited to be a part of this special gathering.
What is fascinating to me is to see how the world has fallen in love with Pope Francis. Clergy from different faiths were kissing the Pope’s hand on Friday showing the utmost respect for this man of God. Pope Francis is not trying to be spectacular, or fascinating. His goal is to be a real Christian. One who follows the example of Jesus Christ. As a result, the world is falling in love with him. Many of us have believed in the lie that if we live out our Christian faith, people will reject and some form of harm may accompany our lives. Though this may be true, in other parts of the world, I believe Pope Francis is showing us how much the world is craving to meet real Christians. More than admiring the Pope from afar and marveling at his Holiness, I hope and pray that his life, but more importantly, the life of Jesus will inspire you to be a witness for Jesus.
- Peter Ahn
I have been a part of The Broadway Inspirational Voices for 18 years. It is a choir composed of actors and musicians from New York’s Broadway and off-Broadway shows. It was a huge honor and a privilege to be a part of the Pre-Papal Mass; A Journey of Faith. The Broadway Inspirational Voices soared in unison over thousands inside The Garden. The program featured the choir singing Total Praise. The choir then backed up Gloria Estefan (Mas Alla) and Harry Connick Jr. (How Great thou Art). Other notables on the program: Martin Sheen, Jennifer Hudson, Norm Lewis and Kelly Ohare. A packed Madison Square Garden was filled with people of all denominations, races, economic conditions awaiting a moment with this man of God. The anticipation was filled with unified joy and praise.
- Angela Robinson-Whitehurst