Pope Francis Meets with Valley Interfaith Leaders

Pope Francis Meets with Valley Interfaith Leaders


On Friday, October 14, our network (Valley Interfaith and the Industrial Areas Foundation) had the rare opportunity to visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

An interfaith delegation of 20 leaders and organizers from the West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation met with him to share our collective work of broad based organizing at a time when the Pope is guiding the global church in a historic Synod listening process...

This invitation to meet was in large part due to the recognition of our work by local Bishops, in particular those involved with the Recognizing the Stranger strategy, which is dedicated to formation and leadership development of immigrant parishioners. As well, our involvement to support the Synod process in multiple dioceses has helped to bring those in the margins to the center of the synodal dialogue...

As we shared our experiences of organizing, we were struck by how carefully he listened, asked questions, and engaged with lots of humor. Early on, he reflected back to us, “Usaron mucho las palabras ‘ver’ y ‘escuchar,’… Me impresiona que ninguno de ustedes es parte de alguna teoría. Ninguno dice ‘leí un libro y me interesó eso.’” (You constantly use the words “to see” and “to listen.. I am impressed that none of you start with any theory. No one says ‘I read a book and that interested me.’)“El peligro es intelectualizar el problema” (The danger is when you intellectualize a problem.)...

We teach that power recognizes power. For Pope Francis, “el verdadero poder es el servicio,” (“true power is service”). Recounting the Good Samaritan, he clearly stated that the Gospel cannot be understood without acting with those who are suffering. He recognized the leaders and organizations of the IAF and the powerful work that is happening every day at the margins. He referred to the IAF as “Good News for the United States.”

[Photo Credit: Rabbi John Linder, Rio Grande Guardian]

Valley Interfaith Leaders Visit the Vatican to Meet Pope FrancisRio Grande Guardian [pdf]