Why We Should Rise to the Pope’s Challenge

620-pope-president-obama-white-house
Pope Francis and President Obama on the South Lawn of the White House



En español | Today I was honored to attend the White House arrival ceremony for Pope Francis. Along with the president and the first lady, my husband and other invited guests, I witnessed firsthand the pope’s energy and style, as he dove into his much-anticipated visit to the United States.

Pope Francis engenders incredible enthusiasm wherever he goes. So whether it’s social media ( #followfrancis), politics (meeting with President Obama and addressing Congress) or the cities he visits (closed streets and throngs of well-wishers in Washington), interest in what this gregarious man says and does is always high.

Help bring relief to struggling seniors; find volunteer opportunities near you »

When visiting Cuba last weekend, the pope urged clergy to “embrace poverty” and never “forget the abandoned.” Caring about others — particularly those less fortunate than us — is an essential part of our spiritual human heart.

Catholic Charities is the humanitarian tool that the church uses to tackle poverty in over 100 countries worldwide. Its ongoing community work provides clean water and disaster relief, fights hunger and delivers medical services to the needy around the globe. Here in Washington, an example of Catholic Charities’ work is the St. Maria’s Meals program, which provides food and services to the homeless. The pope has plans to visit the program site and bless tomorrow’s meal before he leaves the region.

AARP shares the pope’s vision of an engaged society that takes care of those who need help the most. AARP Foundation works every day to make a real difference in the lives of Americans who are hungry, ill-housed, isolated and lack financial resources to improve their lot. And we have stepped up when disasters occur, providing financial support to residents of New Orleans ravaged by Katrina in 2005 and Haitians pummeled by the earthquake in 2010.

At AARP we provide tangible assistance to the most vulnerable among us. And we advocate for those who are seeking to win back opportunity. Let’s all take Pope Francis’ challenge and do what we can do to help real people with concrete assistance. In doing so, I know we’ll find that we get back much more than we give.

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP



AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins
Jo Ann Jenkins is the chief executive officer of AARP. Follow her on Twitter @JoAnn_Jenkins.

 

 

 

 

Also of Interest

See the  AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more.

Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive…
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he…
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community…