The much-awaited moment for millions of Catholics is finally upon them: Pope Francis arrived in Maryland from Cuba on Tuesday afternoon, with no shortage of media coverage.
He is preparing for a busy week in the United States, travelling to Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia. The pope will make several appearances, including one at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center. He is also visiting important cathedrals in all of the cities, and will meet with President Obama, Congress and the United Nations.
As the Jesuit University of New York, with a large and active theology department, Fordham University has prepared extensively for this papal visit. Campus Ministry began planning the Faith, POPE & Love campaign back in July “to animate and engage the university community at different levels — academic, pastoral, spiritual,” said Father Salazar, executive director of Campus Ministry.
The Fordham faculty is also playing a big role — most notably Hornbeck, chair of the theology department. Hornbeck will be serving as a commentator for the Al Jazeera America news network during the pope’s visit. “I’ll be … providing live analysis during many of the pope’s speeches and liturgies and also doing my best to sum up the importance of what will be happening,” he said.
According to Hornbeck, Fordham faculty members have been quoted in more than 30 stories in the media about the pope and his to visits Cuba and the United States, and Fordham theologians and others are contributing their expertise on a variety of topics.
Prayer cards, bookmarks and wristbands inscribed “Faith, Pope & Love” were also distributed at President’s Ball, the Homecoming Weekend Mass, and the Masses of Anticipation on the 20th to raise student awareness of the campaign. These will also be given away at designated Campus Ministry viewing rooms where papal addresses and events will be live-streamed. “The director of Campus Ministry in Rose Hill, Mr. Conor O’Kane, has been spearheading the campaign since its inception. Other departments from Theology, IPED/IHA, the Center for Religion and Culture, the Curran Center and the Dorothy Day Center, have been in from the start as co-sponsors of events, or to offer their own programs,” Father Salazar said.
Students have also been aiding in the preparations. Three Fordham journalism majors are accompanying Professor Hornbeck as interns. About 60 student leaders attended a day-long student leadership training program, hosted by Campus Ministry, featuring a keynote talk on Pope Francis’ leadership style and what inspires it.
A full slate of Campus Ministry activities on all three campuses can be found on the university website. There will be a variety of pre-visit, visit and post-visit activities, ranging from serious panel discussions, lighthearted events like Flat Francis, prayer services and learning practical service skills like building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Professor Hornbeck encourages all students to keep an eye on Fordham’s and the Theology Department’s Twitter accounts (@fordhamnotes, @fordhamtheology) to read the latest about what faculty and others are saying about the papal visit.