September is a back to school, back to work, month as vacations end and life returns to normal. But this September is not normal for 40 persons whose commitment to the mission of the Church I deeply admire. The reason is simple. Each of them will be honored in a unique and beautiful way by Pope Francis.
Papal honors are rarely given, and when they are, they’re a source of joy and pride for the whole archdiocese. When the Holy Father bestows a pontifical award, he recognizes the generosity and exceptional dedication of a particular individual. Each such person deserves our gratitude and praise. But in granting these awards, Pope Francis also seeks to highlight for the wider believing community the importance of many different forms of Christian service. We’re all called to lives of discipleship, and many thousands of people in our local Church live their faith with equal and exemplary fidelity. They too share in these honors.
Thursday - September - Behalf - Pope - Francis
On Thursday, September 5, on behalf of Pope Francis, I’ll award to recipients the Benemerenti Medal, the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, and membership in the pontifical knightly Orders of St. Sylvester and St. Gregory the Great at a 5 p.m. Vespers Service at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Center City. This is a great moment for our local Church, and I invite the public to share in it.
As chance would have it, another distinguished event will be happening the same day. Earlier this year Yale University Press published a superb new book by the historian Robert Louis Wilken, Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origin of Religious Freedom. An emeritus professor at the University of Virginia and chairman of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, which publishes First Things magazine, Wilken has a long record...
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