The exuberant crowd broke into cheers. One could feel the palpable sense of excitement. The Vicar of Christ had arrived.
The Pope has arrived in the United States and the excitement builds for what will be an historic apostolic visit.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - At approximately 4:01 p.m., the door of “Shepherd One” opened and the whole world watched in anticipation.
After the entourage traveling with the Holy Father began to exit the Al Italia Plane, the President of the United States of America, George Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and their daughter Jenna approached the plane.
The Vatican Ambassador ascended the stairs, and then Pope Benedict XVI, with his thick mane of white hair blowing in the cool breeze of an early Spring and a broad smile shining in the glow of the afternoon sun stepped out waving.
The exuberant crowd broke into cheers. One could feel the palpable sense of excitement.
The Vicar of Christ had arrived.
As the Pope reached the ground he greeted the first family and then the members of the American Hierarchy who, dressed in their finest clerical cassocks and indicia of office, had gathered for the momentous beginning of what promises to be an historic apostolic visit.
Reports already have already emerged of a candid Pope Benedict who, in English, had already addressed reporters during the flight concerning the horrible tragedy that is the past scandals involving the sexual abuse of minors by a small minority of Clerics.
The Holy Father said: “It is a great suffering for the Church in the United States and for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen...It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission ... to these children."
"I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future," he continued "We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry."
He continued "...It is more important to have good priests than many priests. We will do everything possible to heal this wound...” he continued to state with absolute clarity and conviction that pedophilia is "absolutely incompatible with the priesthood."
He gave those same reporters an indication of what he would address when he met privately with the President , describing his pilgrimage to the United Sates as an opportunity to visit with a "great people and a great Church."
As he walked down the carpet with the President today, the enthusiasm of the crowds continued. Commentators on most major networks began to speculate on the likely significance of the events of the next six days.
However, it was Fr. David O’Connell, President of the Catholic University of America who best expressed the expectation of this observer when he reminded the viewers of CNN of what Pope Benedict himself had said.
He was “coming to bring the Word of Life” and that Word is Jesus Christ, who is our Hope.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
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