Ever since it was announced that Pope Francis is coming to Washington, people have been asking, “How can I join in? How can I ‘Share the Joy, Walk with Francis?’”
Last week I invited you to take the “Walk With Francis Pledge.” This extraordinary initiative offers everyone in our community the opportunity to actively participate in the excitement right now by making a commitment to pray and learn, serve, and/or act, following the Pope’s example of bringing Christ’s love, mercy and hope to others, especially those on the margins of society.
Now I would like to tell you about the “YouServe” Papal Visit Video Contest. This is another way to personally participate in the visit and answer the Holy Father’s call to serve. While the video contest can be done on its own, everyone who takes the Walk with Francis Pledge is encouraged to go further and sign up for YouServe as well to show how you are fulfilling the Pledge.
More and more when you look around at special events, you see people taking pictures and recording video. Whether it is parents at a graduation or pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square to see the Pope or people just spending a day at the ballpark, they all have their cameras, cell phones and iPads out to capture the moment. Photos and videos memorialize wonderful moments and allow us to share our experiences with others. It is no less true when we come to sharing our faith witness.
With this exciting YouServe initiative, by submitting a two-minute video, people can show others how they are manifesting Christ’s kingdom of love and mercy, truth and peace in our world today. A selection of submitted videos will be shown during events surrounding our Holy Father’s visit, as well as on the Archdiocese of Washington YouTube channel. The producers of the top three videos will receive four tickets each to attend the Papal Mass at the Basilica on September 23.
Entries for YouServe may be submitted between now and September 1. Please go to adw.org/YouServe to register and for more information on how to enter.
More importantly, through the service you do, either in the Walk with Francis Pledge, YouServe, or both, you will be helping our sisters and brothers in the community. Also, by sharing your story, you may inspire others to “go forth,” as Pope Francis asks us, and bring the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to others. This is the New Evangelization in action, which is all about finding ways that are “new in ardor, methods and expression” to spread the Good News (Ecclesia in America, 66).
These are only a few ways for you to get involved now in the excitement of our Holy Father’s visit. Perhaps you can think of some other ways to rejoice in the love of God and show how we join with the Pope in his commitment to mercy and the building of a culture of inclusion and solidarity?
To stay up-to-date, I encourage you to visit WalkWithFrancis.org and follow #PopeInDC and #WalkWithFrancis and our archdiocesan social media platforms. Please also invite others to “Share the Joy, Walk with Francis” in this time of grace for our local Church.