United Churches of Christ and Boy Scouts sign Historic Agreement

The United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America re-established a formal relationship today (Oct. 5) with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding local UCC congregations chartering Scout troops.

Signed by Michael B. Surbaugh, BSA chief scout executive, and the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president, the document affirms the recently-adopted BSA resolution that removed the restriction on gay adult leaders and employees, and formally states that UCC congregations chartering BSA units can conduct scouting programs according to their own values of inclusion and extravagant welcome for all.

The agreement follows similar recent moves by the Unitarian Univeralist Association, and the Union for Reform Judaism. About those earlier moves Zach Wahls an Eagle Scout, and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality had this to say, “We are planning to work with our members and partners to charter 1,000 new Boy Scout units in the next twenty-four months. With both the Unitarian Universalist Association and Union for Reformed Judiasim back, it’s clear we’re off to a great start.” Asked about the UCC’s new agreement with Boy Scouts of America, Cathie Adams, President of Texas Eagle Forum, and former Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas issued the following statement to Faith That Inspires Action, “I suggest that parents take note of what is being taught to their children in churches and schools. It must be consistent with their beliefs. If it is not, then they must protect their children from strange teachings. Train up a child in the way he should go is NOT only a suggestion. It is a tried and true principle that promises blessings to the children and their parents.”

Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president, who signed the agreement on behalf of The Church of Christ, had this to say, ” As a former Boy Scout growing up, and one committed to the open and affirming ministry of the United Church of Christ, it brought me a great deal of pride and satisfaction to be able to sign my name to that memorandum of understanding,”

Speaking about the July policy change that made this agreement possible Robert M. Gates National President of the Boy Scouts of America said ““Everyone associated with scouting agrees to follow national policies and comply with BSA’s behavioral standards; no youth may be denied membership to our organization on the basis of sexual orientation; and no council can deny a charter to a unit that is following the beliefs of its religious chartering organization.”

The UCC had pulled back from any formal ties and had withdrawn its letter of endorsement in 2001 because of BSA policies of excluding boys and men based on sexual orientation. The BSA changed its policy regarding youth in 2013.

The MOU states, in part, that “the United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America will work cooperatively with each other within the policies and regulations of each organization to establish and nurture scouting units as an expression of the nurture and outreach of the ministry of the United Church of Christ and its member congregations so that boys, young adults, and adults may grow in their relationships with God, develop into responsible citizens, serve the needs of others, and develop personal fitness to achieve their greatest potential.”

“Since its founding more than 100 years ago, scouting has been important to many congregations in United Church of Christ. Today UCC congregations sponsor more than 1,000 units of scouting with nearly 28,000 participants,” Schuenemeyer said. “Our commitments to justice and the inclusion of all people in the life of the church continue to call us to engage in actions that promote a just and peaceful world that affirms the gifts and ministry of each individual. That is why we welcome this opportunity to engage with colleagues in Scouting, the UCC and other faith traditions to foster inclusive Scouting programs.”

Read the text of the Memorandum of Understanding.

Editor’s Note: Large Portions of this article were taken from a United Church of Christ press release authored by Barb Powell.

First-Ever: 50K PayItForward Cards Launches City-Wide 40 Days of Generosity

TITUSVILLE, Fla., Oct. 6, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Everyone in America knows our cities need more love, kindness, and generosity. But no city in America has ever launched a #PayItForward movement for an entire community over 40 days.

But that all changed when church leaders in Titusville, Florida invited Brian Kluth, a leading generosity author and speaker, to help them plan and launch LovingNorthBrevard – #40DaysofGenerosity.

To kick off this first-ever event, 50,000 free #PayItForward cards were printed to unleash tens of thousands random acts of kindness over 40 days. Brian Kluth’s 40 Day Generous Life Bible devotional APP and #LoveInAction Ideas flyer were also made available for free.

Public schools sent home over 10,000 Community PayItForward cards for children and families to use and give out. Churches distributed thousands of the Christian version PayItForward cards that shares a video about God’s love. One man gave out 1000 slices of banana bread and 1000 PayItForward cards at offices of the Mayor, Police Chief, School Superintendent, Chamber of Commerce, hospital, and several public schools. As random acts of kindness are done and thousands of PayItForward Cards are given out, it will cause a chain reaction that will lead to tens of thousands of acts of kindness spreading exponentially city-wide and beyond.

McDonald’s said they are running out of gift cards because people are buying them to give away with PayItForward cards. Complete strangers have paid for people’s groceries or gas. Drive-thru restaurants and coffee shops have reported hundreds of people paying for the person behind them. Restaurant servers have tearfully shared stories of receiving big tips (50%, 100% or larger!) and of patrons paying for the bill of people they don’t even know. One person said this is helping thousands experience “God’s love from above.”

Beyond small acts of kindness, Appreciation Lunches for police officers and firemen are taking place. A single mom organized a free block party in a crime infested neighborhood. People helped a disabled man to replace his broken wheelchair. Kiwanis, Rotary, and others are raising $200,000 for the city’s first splash park.

One million people watched #40DaysofGenerosity news stories. Here’s a news clip from Orlando’s Fox TV35. Millions more heard Brian Kluth on Howard Dayton’s MoneyWise radio program and Christian TV45.

Organizers hope this will spread. A special #40DaysofGenerosity website has been created so anyone can get free materials and #PayItForward cards for use in their family, church, school, or community.

God Loves and Can Appreciate Small Things

By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Editor FaithInspires.Org

When we think of God we are used to thinking in immense, bigger than life terms. We are used to the parting of the Red Sea. We are used to the story of Noah, where God flooded the entire world all at once. However it is God’s quality of being everywhere, all the time that allows him to attend to even the smallest of things. God in fact loves small things, and appreciates them greatly.

Consider first the words of Zecariah 4:10, “ Those who despise a time of little things will rejoice when they see the plumb line in Zerubbablel’s hand. These are the seven eyes of the Lord surveying the entire Earth.” So we see hear that God always has time for small things. The verse goes on to tell us that we will rejoice over small things.

Now combine this with the words we find at Matthew 10:30, ( a very similar verse is found at Luke 12:7) “ But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” How amazing is this ? When we brushed or combed our hair this morning we probably lost hairs. None of us could probably tell you for sure. But God knows. Not only does God know, we lost hairs, he knows which ones ! The more amazing thing is he knows this information for every head among the 8 billion+ people on Earth. Are we to wow yet ?

Scripture also tells us that God can work with, and help grow even the smallest quantity of faith. We learn this in Luke 17:6 which tells us, “ And the Lord said ‘ If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.’ Anybody that has cooked with it can tell you that a mustard seed is a very small seed. So small that a single one is barely visible. So no matter how small your faith is, if you are sincere in your faith, God can make a beginning and great things from it.

B.B. Warfield was a highly respected theology professor at Princeton university in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He had this to say “ In the infinite wisdom of the Lord of all the Earth, each event falls with exact precision into its proper place in the unfolding of his divine plan. Nothing however small, however strange, occurs without his ordering…” So nothing that happens in our life is too small or unimportant to warrant God’s notice, or if we allow him, his direct action.

As we have seen no action is too small for God. No thing is too small for God. No faith is too small for God to work with. No event in our lives is so small as to escape his attention. This gives us not just for reasons, but four categories of reasons to know and believe that God loves, and can appreciate small things.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Christian Lives Don’t Matter

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights provides this commentary on coverage of the Jr. College shooting in Oregon.

NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Bill Donohue comments on media reaction to the Oregon killings:

Here is what Chris Harper-Mercer said to his victims just before he killed them: “Are you Christian?” After they stood up he said, “Good, because you’re Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.” He then shot them. Another eyewitness account said that after he asked if they were Christian, “then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”

The following media outlets were among those that reported on this story but never mentioned that Christians were singled out:

      • ABC World News Tonight
      • CBS Evening News
      • NBC Nightly News
      • PBS News Hour
      • New York Times
      • USA Today
      • Slate
      • Salon
      • Gawker
      • Daily Beast
      • Salon
      • Yahoo
      • Huffington Post
      • Associated Press [This accounts for why so many papers across the nation made no mention of Christians.]

If African Americans or Muslims had been singled out, President Obama would have gone ballistic, Al Sharpton would be calling for street rallies, and CAIR would be asking for congressional investigations. But because Christians are being cherry picked for murder, there is no call to arms. Indeed, many major media outlets aren’t even telling the truth. It’s obvious—”Christian Lives Don’t Matter”—either here or abroad.

By Faith with Frank Shelton Episode 16

It seems like only a moment ago my friend Frank Shelton, and I were talking about this new show he was putting together called By Faith. I remember how we both expectantly looked forward to that first episode. He is now at episode 16. As I finish watching each episode I wait expectantly for each new one. Each episode is different and unique, and the ways it blesses its viewers is even more so. As you watch episode 16, my prayer is it will bless you in ways that will supercharge your faith.

Newman Detained in Australia Pending Deportation Due to Pro-Abortion Campaign of Falsehoods

Operation Rescue demands the immediate release of Newman and an apology from the Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton
MELBOURNE, Australia, Oct. 1, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Operation Rescue received word moments ago that Troy Newman (photo) has been detained in Melbourne Australia pending deportation due to his visa being cancelled at the request of pro-abortion bullies who were bent on silencing Newman’s message of peaceful, legal activism on behalf of pre-born babies.
Newman’s deportation could take up to 72 hours. Meanwhile, his wife, Mellissa, whose visa is still active, is left alone in a foreign country with no luggage.
“Troy’s unjust treatment by the Australian government is based on a pack of bold-faced lies about his character. This makes him a political prisoner,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue. “It’s shocking that the Australian government would take these lies at face value and deny Troy his right to his freedom and free speech. To say we are disappointed is an understatement.”
Newman is the president of Operation Rescue and serves as a Board Member for the Center for Medical Progress, the organization that recently released a series of undercover video showing prima facie evidence that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of aborted baby remains for profit.
He was invited to Australia for a 10 day speaking tour by Australia Right to Life. He planned to share news concerning the shock videos and their impact in American politics as well as his message of peaceful activism in order to save innocent lives from abortion.
A pro-abortion Member of Parliament, Terri Butler, sent a spurious letter to Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton falsely accusing Newman of advocating the execution of abortion providers, which Dutton never bothered to fact-check.
Newman has never advocated violence against abortion providers or facilities and has instead adamantly encouraged pro-life activists to work through the legal, legislative, and justice systems to bring abortionists who are breaking the law and harming women to justice.
“The pro-abortion bullies in Australia who have been slandering Troy Newman to the government have had to stoop to the lowest of lows to silence his message about Planned Parenthood’s criminality and his use of peaceful, law-abiding activism to expose abortion abuses,” said Sullenger. “Now that they have told so may lies about him, they must make sure he is deported lest their shame be exposed to the people of Australia.”
Newman was not notified that his visa had been cancelled until he was already enroute to Melbourne. Along the way, he was banned from boarding a United Airlines flight from Denver to Los Angeles and was told he was banned from flying on order of the Australian government. Newman continued on to Los Angeles on another airline then on to Melbourne thinking this misunderstanding would soon be corrected.
“Troy has been treated like a criminal even though he has never been convicted of a crime and is being detained and deported based solely on his religious and pro-life beliefs that are opposed by certain abortion lackeys in the Australian government,” said Sullenger. “This is unjust and as a representative of Operation Rescue, I demand his immediate release and an apology from Minister Dutton for the trouble he has caused by acquiescing to false accusations of those who oppose Newman’s pro-life stance.”
Please contact Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton and respectfully remind him that Newman is a man of peace that has been unjustly detained, and ask for his immediate release.
Peter Dutton
Minister of Immigration
Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and has become a strong voice for the pro-life movement in America. Click here to support Operation Rescue.

Right to Life University for the Thinking Activist

New Online University to Equip a Movement.
LOS ANGELES , Sept. 28, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Right to Life University and the School of Life is a new, on-line endeavor designed to equip the pro-life generation with the understanding and tools to communicate and accomplish their goal, the restoration of the Right to Life to society’s laws. An overview can be viewed at www.righttolifeuniversity.org
Is the Right to Life about emotions? Is it about your feelings, or your personal theology? Or is it about objective facts? Is this objectively a human being and will the law protect this innocent human life? If that’s the case, it is a legal rights issue and must be addressed that way.
Brian Johnston is formerly Commissioner on Aging for California, (and currently wrapped up in the effort to stop the legalizing of assisted suicide in that state). “People who are pro-life are the most compassionate folks there are, but too often they don’t understand the actual parameters of the debate: it is the law that should be protecting innocent human life. That is what was lost in 1973. That will be lost again if the seriously ill, the infirm, elderly, medically dependent, are no longer protected.
“Unless pro-lifers understand how laws are made, and are effective in that process, they will not accomplish their goals. It is not enough to simply be upset, or to personally try to save a life. If we don’t get educated and learn to apply ourselves to restore the law to its first and principal purpose, protecting the vulnerable innocent, then no amount of diverse emotional or theological expression will help our situation.
RTL U is designed to equip committed pro-life individuals with the intellectual facts and cultural background, but most importantly, with the practical tools to address this abuse of the law.
RTL U is in the midst of a ‘crowd-funding’ effort. “Indie Gogo” is a crowd-fund platform that facilitates widespread, web-based communication. A short, powerful video describes RTL U and the School of Life, detailed information then gives further background for this tool to equip a movement seeking how to accomplish its goals. It can be viewed at www.righttolifeuniversity.org

New Castle Salvation Army Disaffiliating with United Way of Lawrence County

NEW CASTLE, Pa., Sept. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a meeting with United Way officials in New Castle this morning, the leadership of The New Castle Salvation Army delivered the news that they will be disaffiliating with United Way of Lawrence County. This decision, agreed upon by the local Salvation Army Advisory Board as well as The Salvation Army’s Divisional and Territorial Leadership, was based on the limitations for fundraising placed on The Salvation Army in comparison to the amount of money now being contributed by The United Way.

As is policy with many United Way funded non-profits, there are black-out periods in which those who receive funding from The United Way are not permitted to conduct their own fundraising activities. Over the years, the amount of money The Salvation Army has received from The United Way of Lawrence County has dwindled to the point where it is no longer feasible to adhere to such fundraising restrictions. Funds received from The United Way have gone from an all-time high of $20,000 in 2008 to only $3,710 in 2014. “With 2014’s amount representing less than 2% of its overall budget, it doesn’t make sense to continue to be held to restrictions preventing The Salvation Army from fundraising from September 1November 30,” said Captain Christopher Williams. The Salvation Army has been blessed by the financial support that it has received from The United Way over the years and has certainly been grateful for the relationship shared with the agency. However, the main concern of the New Castle Salvation Army is to raise the funds needed to assist local individuals and families in need.

With the Christmas season approaching and the need in the area continuing to grow, The Salvation Army is asking the community to rally support to help The Salvation Army reach the Christmas Kettle Campaign goal of $68,000 to ensure that our neighbors in need are served. There are many ways that help can be provided, including sponsoring kettles, volunteering as bell ringers, soliciting friends and associates through on-line red kettles, and donating generously. For more information on how you can support the New Castle Salvation Army Red Kettle Christmas Campaign, please contact Captain Christopher Williams at 724.642.7921 or by email at: Christopher.Williams@use.salvationarmy.org

Celebrating 150 years of global service as both a church and a social service organization, The Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865. Today, it provides critical services in 127 countries worldwide. The 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division serves thousands of needy families through a wide variety of support services. The Salvation Army…doing the most good for the most people in the most need. To learn more about The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, log on to www.wpa.salvationarmy.org

Pennsylvania Readies Significant Public Information Effort to Assist Papal Visitors, Residents

How times have changed ! Many people have always thought of social media as a “toy.” One of the things I find interesting about this story is the central role social media, changeable message signs and other technologies are playing in getting information out to the public during this event.-Pastor Crutchfield

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Governor Tom Wolf today announced that his administration will maintain a robust and significant public information effort to inform and prepare the public for the events surrounding the Papal visit.

Additionally, state agencies will support the City of Philadelphia, the federal government and other partners with public safety, transportation and public health for Pope Francis’ historic visit to Philadelphia.

“The commonwealth will do all we can to support and assist our federal and local partners and to make sure people are safe during the Papal visit,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “Our priority is to help people be prepared and safe and to ensure people from across the country and world can enjoy this tremendous event.”

Agencies involved in the weekend’s events — primarily the Departments of Transportation, Health, Human Services, as well as the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency — will be tweeting preparedness tips and helpful information throughout the Papal Visit and into Monday. The governor’s Twitter account will also be putting out preparedness and visitor information over the course of the next five days.

PennDOT has regional and statewide accounts populated by the PA 511 traveler alert system, which offers real-time alerts on emergencies and travel conditions for travellers. PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission also launched http://papal511.com to help those travelling to and around the festivities in Philadelphia this weekend.

If there are any unplanned incidents involving PennDOT roads, public health, or public safety, we will also be using these accounts as well as the Pennsylvania State Police’s social media to post updates for the public.

Accounts posting updates include:

Visitors and residents are also encouraged to follow the City of Philadelphia’s social media accounts, including @PhiladelphiaGov, @PhilaOEM, @Philly311, @PhillyPolice, and @PHLPublicHealth, along with the official account of the World Meeting 2015 (@WMF2015) and @RedCrossEasternPA.

For more information on preparedness, residents and visitors are encouraged to read the Commonwealth’s Papal Visit FAQs (also in Spanish), and tips from Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Communications personnel from the Governor’s Office and state agencies will also staff both the Media Filing Center in the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the U.S. Secret Service’s Joint Information Center beginning today.

The canonisation of Blessed Junipero Serra: Jesus has no ‘shortlist’ of people worthy of His message

Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) – Blessed Junipero Serra (1713-1784), known as the “Apostle of California”, was canonised yesterday by Pope Francis during a solemn Mass celebrated in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the title under which, since 1847, the Virgin Mary is the patroness of the United States.
The new saint, born in Mallorca, Spain, was a missionary first in Mexico, where he learned the Pame language in order to teach the indigenous peoples the catechism and ordinary prayers, which he translated for them. He was also master of novices in the apostolic College of San Fernando. In 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the missions of Baja California, which were entrusted to the Franciscans. Fr. Junipero was appointed Superior and arrived with 14 companions in the territory in 1760, where he founded the first mission of San Diego. He went on to found missions in Alta California: San Carlos de Monterrey, San Anselmo, San Gabriel and San Luis Obispo. In California alone he travelled 9,900 kilometres and 5,400 nautical miles to found new missions from which there derive the Franciscan names of Californian cities such as San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. Serra was beatified by John Paul II in 1988.
In his homily the Pope cites St. Paul’s words to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, rejoice!”. “Paul tells us to rejoice; he practically orders us to rejoice. This command resonates with the desire we all have for a fulfilling life, a meaningful life, a joyful life. … Something deep within us invites us to rejoice and tells us not to settle for placebos which simply keep us comfortable. At the same time, though, we all know the struggles of everyday life. So much seems to stand in the way of this invitation to rejoice. Our daily routine can often lead us to a kind of glum apathy which gradually becomes a habit, with a fatal consequence: our hearts grow numb”.
“We don’t want apathy to guide our lives … or do we?”, he continued. “We don’t want the force of habit to rule our life … or do we? So we ought to ask ourselves: What can we do to keep our heart from growing numb, becoming anaesthetised? How do we make the joy of the Gospel increase and take deeper root in our lives? Jesus gives the answer. He said to his disciples then and he says it to us now: Go forth! Proclaim! The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away”.
The spirit of the world “tells us to be like everyone else, to settle for what comes easy. Faced with this human way of thinking, ‘we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and for the world’. It is the responsibility to proclaim the message of Jesus. For the source of our joy is ‘an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of our own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy’. Go out to all, proclaim by anointing and anoint by proclaiming. This is what the Lord tells us today. He tells us that a Christian finds joy in mission: Go out to people of every nation! A Christian experiences joy in following a command: Go forth and proclaim the good news! A Christian finds ever new joy in answering a call: Go forth and anoint!”.
“Jesus sends His disciples out to all nations. To every people. We too were part of all those people of two thousand years ago. Jesus did not provide a short list of who is, or is not, worthy of receiving His message, His presence. Instead, He always embraced life as He saw it. In faces of pain, hunger, sickness and sin. In faces of the wounded, in thirst, weariness, doubt and pity. Far from expecting a beautiful life, smartly-dressed and neatly groomed, He embraced life as He found it. It made no difference whether it was dirty, unkempt, broken. Jesus said: Go out and tell the good news to everyone. Go out and in my name embrace life as it is, and not as you think it should be. Go out to the highways and byways, go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, without superiority, without condescension, to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out to proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father. Go out to those who are burdened by pain and failure, who feel that their lives are empty, and proclaim the ‘folly’ of a loving Father Who wants to anoint them with the oil of hope, the oil of salvation. Go out to proclaim the good news that error, deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person’s life. Go out with the balm which soothes wounds and heals hearts”.
Mission is “never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organised manual. Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing. The Church, the holy People of God, treads the dust-laden paths of history, so often traversed by conflict, injustice and violence, in order to encounter her children, our brothers and sisters. The holy and faithful People of God are not afraid of losing their way; they are afraid of becoming self-enclosed, frozen into elites, clinging to their own security. They know that self-enclosure, in all the many forms it takes, is the cause of so much apathy. So let us go out, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. The People of God can embrace everyone because we are the disciples of the One who knelt before his own to wash their feet.
“The reason we are here today is that many other people wanted to respond to that call. They believed that ‘life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort’. We are heirs to the bold missionary spirit of so many men and women who preferred not to be ‘shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security … within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving’. We are indebted to a tradition, a chain of witnesses who have made it possible for the good news of the Gospel to be, in every generation, both ‘good’ and ‘new’”.
“Today we remember one of those witnesses who testified to the joy of the Gospel in these lands, Fr. Junipero Serra. He was the embodiment of ‘a Church which goes forth’, a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God. Junipero Serra left his native land and its way of life. He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life. He learned how to bring to birth and nurture God’s life in the faces of everyone he met; he made them his brothers and sisters. Junipero sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it. Mistreatment and wrongs which today still trouble us, especially because of the hurt which they cause in the lives of many people”.
Father Serra “had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: siempre adelante! Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anaesthetised. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let’s keep moving forward!”.
After the Mass for canonisation the Holy Father proceeded to the new St. John Paul II archdiocesan seminary, inaugurated in 2011, inhabited by 47 seminarians who awaited Francis at the entrance to the institution. The Pope unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit and returned to the nunciature in Washington D.C., where he spent the night.
Today, 24 September, at 10 a.m. local time (4 p.m. in Rome), the Holy Father will address the United States Congress assembled in joint session, an extraordinary gathering of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. He will subsequently meet with homeless people in the St. Patrick parish. After leaving the At 5 p.m. local time (11 p.m. in Rome) he will depart by air for New York, where he will conclude the day with Vespers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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