Prior to the pontiff’s visit to the United States in September, Pope Francis appeared on ABC’s “20/20” with David Muir. “Pope Francis and the People” aired Friday night in what has been labeled a television first, with the head of the Catholic Church chatting via satellite to people in three separate cities throughout the country. Pope Francis outlined his intentions for the upcoming tour telling American citizens, “I want to draw close to your path and history.”
Pope Francis will arrive on U.S. soil following his departure of Cuba on September 22. The Holy Father is scheduled to first visit Washington D.C., then head north to New York where he will conduct Mass at Madison Square Garden. From New York, Pope Francis concludes his U.S. visit in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. The Holy Father returns to the Vatican on Monday, September 28.
Pope Francis acted as “pastor” for the ABC News event said Vatican News, which was taped Monday and aired Friday, September 4 at 10 p.m. His Holiness spoke from the Vatican via satellite to people situated in McAllen, Texas, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Those who participated in the papal audience were excited to hear from Pope Francis, however none as much as Sister Norma Pimentel or Ricardo Ortiz, who were both addressed directly by the pontiff. According to ABC News the Pope beckoned to see the nun from the Sacred Heart Church in McAllen and then thanked her and others for their dedication and hard work.
I want to thank you. And through you to thank all the sisters of religious orders in the U.S. for the work that you have done and that you do in the United States…I’ll tell you one other thing. Is it inappropriate for the Pope to say this? I love you all very much.
Ricardo Ortiz, a teen from Houston, chatted with Pope Francis about his lost soccer scholarship to college that forced him to instead work full time to support his family while attending community college. During the conversation Pope Francis commended the 19-year-old’s decision. Of the exchange, Ortiz called it “amazing.”
We are all created for friendship in society. All of us bear responsibility for everyone else. And each one has to make a choice in his or her heart. And we have to help that choice to be made in the heart. Escaping it through addiction, through violence, does not help. Only closeness and giving of myself, all that I have to give, the way you gave everything you could as a boy, when you supported your family. Don’t forget that.
Pope Francis used the virtual papal audience as a preview of what Americans can expect upon his visit. “When I approach people, as I’m going to do with you, it’s easier for me to understand them and help them along life’s path. That’s why this trip is so important, for me to draw close to your path and your history.” The video of the audience with Pope Francis could be viewed above.