“Any other Saturday night, I might technically be able to pray with a stranger, but I wouldn’t have known how to ask. The papal visit drew people out, and made it easy to disclose our faith to each other. It felt like a much more joyful and communal version of the annual Catholic Census that happens on every Ash Wednesday.
I might notice the smudges on my coworkers’ foreheads but I don’t start conversations. The somber, sin-focused nature of the day makes it hard to imagine introducing myself and asking someone to coffee or to pray for me. It just means that, for a day, the Catholic-heavy demographics of my city become visible to me.
Now that the visit has come to an end, I want to do more with the people who surround me. I want to find a way to live up to what Pope Francis said in his canonization Mass for Saint Junipero Serra, when he spoke of the way that we are all called to extend Serra’s missionary work, and the dangers of refusing our calling.”