One can’t live or even visit New York City without having a well-developed sense of humour. New Yorkers are entertaining and eager to keep you smiling. However, even an army of clowns armed with squirting lapel flowers and whoopee cushions can’t prepare you for the traffic problems that spontaneously erupt in the city. One needs the patience of a saint. Or an entire choir of them.
Worse still Pope Francis, arguably one of the most popular popes in recent memory, will arrive here in New York City at the same time as the United Nations’ General Assembly is in session. I think even the saints will be hard-pressed to compose themselves.
At that time, the representatives of 193 nations, and their select guests, will have the honour and privilege of listening to the Pope explain to them what they’ve been doing wrong. The traffic then will be perfectly abysmal and not my idea of gracious, urban living.
Apparently, if we’re to believe the poll-takers, those guardians of public peevishness, a full 90 per cent of people in New York City and its environs “approve” of Pope Francis even if they don’t completely agree with him on matters of faith and morals. Apparently, only 20 per cent of those polled “completely” agree with him on such issues.
But this still leaves a lonely, embittered 10 per cent of New Yorkers and their allies (ie, New Jersians, Connecticuters, etc, etc, etc) that neither like Pope Francis nor agree with him. I thought that odd as he seems to be a rather likeable sort, all in all. Of course, I’ve not met the man.
But, ignoring the 10 per cent who neither enjoy the idea of Francis nor his theology, I believe in my heart of hearts that his presence will bring peace to a historically harried city. As it is, the city is abuzz with “Frank-talk”.
Mario Bruschi, director of St Patrick’s Cathedral’s Young Adult Ministry, who has been on the front line of putting tickets to papal events in the hands of the young and eager, told me: “We need to pray that people listen and learn and that the Pope can bring Jesus’s love to so many who feel lost. This trip is about Jesus … this trip is about people learning about who He is and placing their trust in Him.”
Let us all keep Francis and the New Yorkers, both those who like Francis and especially those who don’t, in our prayers.
Pray for their security in this uncertain times. Pray for enlightenment. Pray for love.
And pray that traffic clears up before then.