Reflecting her great love for the Church and for our Holy Father the pope, who is the vicar of Christ on earth, St Jeanne Jugan used to say to the young Little Sisters: “The Holy Father before all.” Here at Sacred Heart Residence we share that same love and respect for the Church and for our Holy Father. It was thus that the joy of Pope Francis’ recent apostolic journey to the United States—even though he could not come to visit us here in the deep South—reverberated among us in a very tangible way.
Desiring to share this joy with the young people of our Church, our residents and Little Sisters eagerly planned “Pope Parties” which would take place at various colleges and universities in the area over a period of many weeks before and after the pope’s visit. With balloons of the papal colors (yellow and white) setting the tone, a happy and inviting cutout of Pope Francis was the centerpiece of each of these parties, as he watched over our Little Sisters serving to the young adults delicious home-made “pope cookies” which had been decorated by our residents. Lively discussion and/or prayerful reflection on our Holy Father’s teachings engaged these many wholehearted young Catholics with our Little Sisters, and each party concluded with “spiritual dessert”–a party favor prepared for the young adults by our residents back home: little scrolls with different quotes from the pope’s words to young people, wrapped in papal-colored ribbons.
These celebrations will culminate with one final “Pope Party” early next semester among the college students in Birmingham. We thank God for the opportunity that this endeavor has given us—residents and Little Sisters alike—to follow Pope Francis’ exhortation to go out to others and be “missionary disciples” of Gospel joy.
Watch some of our Pope Party participants below !