6 Questions with John DeLuca: Local Bishops on the Papal visit

By News Staff

Reporting by John DeLuca

jdeluca@abc6.com

In less than three weeks, a truly historic event will take place. For the first time, Pope Francis will step foot in America.

Any time a Pope visits the United States, it’s a big deal, but this has a different feel. It may be because he’s widely popular, thanks to his style and personality, and ability to connect with people from all walks of life.

All of it will be on full display: the media coverage will be immense, millions will travel to Philadelphia just to say they were there.

To get some perspective on this significant moment, and the impact the trip might have, ABC6 invited Bishops Tobin and da Cunha to be our guests for 6 Questions with Anchor John DeLuca.

When Pope Francis finally arrives, media outlets will cover his every public word, millions will watch him on TV, and a million or more in person. What impact will this trip have on the Catholic Church and this country?

First, John questions how the country is reacting to the visit, "Are we trying to make too much of this? Bringing people back to the church, inspiring men to the priesthood? Are we anticipating too much out of this one visit? We’re talking about a few days here."

"Yes! Well, we can’t expect that the next day the church and this country will be different…but I think it will make an impact," says Bishop Edgar Moreira da Cunha of the Diocese of Fall River. "It’s hard to measure it…it’s going to be a long term result of the impact of his visit."

"I think Pope Francis has energized the church, and he’s inspired the world," says Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence.

Bishop Tobin hopes people will do more than just listen when the Pope touches on his well-established themes, "Are we listening to what the Pope says about poverty? About the environment? About changing our lifestyles? About respecting life? About using our goods to help others? About being inclusive and welcoming?"

He continues, "Are we doing anything really to respond to his words, or are we just enchanted by his personality? I think that’s the challenge for all of us."

John touches on the Pope’s status, "In his two years of his papacy, he’s really become the moral leader of the world, taking on issues that a lot of people have not touched, on any level at all."

"And he’s not afraid to be honest, and candid, and truthful, and call people to do what is right," says Bishop da Cunha.

Bishop da Cunha met Pope Francis two years ago in Brazil at World Youth Day. He was one of an estimated three million people at the closing mass on Copacabana Beach.

"He cares so much about people. He cares so much about our world and about the church and that he’s using all his gifts and talents and every bit of his energies to make a difference, and to bring people closer to God and to the church," Bishop da Cunha continues.

After the Pope meets with President Obama at the White House, he will have Midday Prayer with the Bishops of the United States at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Bishop da Cunha and Tobin will be there.

"I think just being in his presence will be exciting, being with all the other bishops, and to listen to what he’s saying and then try to digest, and to reflect upon and pray over the message he will bring to the bishops and to all the people," says Bishop Tobin.

John DeLuca, along with fellow ABC6 anchor, Mike LaCrosse, will be in Philadelphia covering the Pope’s visit. Coverage begins on Friday, September 25th.

© WLNE-TV 2015