Religion & Philosophy Department

Lebanon Valley College

Student Reflections on visit to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia


[The following reflection was written by Giovanna Ortiz, ’16]

I have responded to a question I have been getting
from so many others, in one way or another: Was it worth it? The reason I had interest in traveling to the city of Philadelphia and subjecting myself to high security inspection for Pope Francis’ visit to the States was not simply to brag, “Oh! I got to see him with my own eyes.” (image1Although doing so is quite satisfying, omitting the part that I was a dozens of feet away in the midst of a crowded mob.) I could not have been contented with merely watching news coverage from the comfort of my dorm room, especially when the event was happening so close to Annville, PA. However, I must confess -I myself am not a member of the Catholic Church, so I am not familiar with all of its traditions nor am I an expert on its doctrine, but never mind that. I do not think the Pope came solely for the benefit of religious persons anyway. I noted during his tour of U.S. cities, he made a point to acknowledge marginalized populations in our society, including inmates, the homeless, and survivors of sexual abuse. He also met with those in positions of power at the White House, Congress and the United Nations to address pressing issues, advocating for governmenIMG_9831.cropt reform in numerous areas. While listening to the careful words of his speeches, it can be observed how intentionally political his choice of conversation topics are. It is safe to say he left a significant impact on the major American societal institutions. The wise man who many call “Holy Father,” continues to be international leader who inspires countless people, including myself.
As a student of Politics, Spanish, and Global Studies at Lebanon Valley College -I answer that on-the surface value judgement question with an ever confident “Yes.”