Our family, the saints

By Chris Rothschild
Editor’s Note: Chris Rothschild is the coordinator of religious education at St. Michael in Cañon City. He traveled to Philadelphia at the end of September to participate in the World Meeting of Families with Pope Francis.

I had the opportunity to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Pa.  It happens every three years, and it’s an invitation from our Holy Father for all families to come and celebrate the joy of Christ and his Church, the family of God.

Picture this: Over 100 bishops processing into Mass, the best Catholic speakers and entertainers and pilgrims from all over the world.  The most conservative estimate places 142,000 at the Papal Mass on Benjamin Franklin Boulevard.  The pulse of the people was reverent, peaceful.  The person standing to my left and right were strangers, yet family.

The media provided 24/7 Papal coverage.  Any Catholic would have wanted to be there with Francis.  Our hearts burned seeing our Pope kiss baby after baby, giving congressional leaders the slip so that he could share a meal with the homeless, and getting around the Big Apple as if he was a man half his age.  He gave America hope.  And what did he ask for in return?  “Please pray for me.”

Later on October 18 at the Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome, Pope Francis canonized the parents of St. Therese of Liseux, Saints Louis and Zelie Martin. They faced many trials, but they fulfilled the call of marriage by reuniting the family in heaven. This personally took hold of me at the World Meeting of Families and is also close to the heart of our diocese.

As a husband and father, this is my calling.  Although I was traveling alone, I asked Louis, Zelie, and Therese to accompany me.  I even spent time in the presence of their first class relics.  Yes, it is strange traveling to Philadelphia and most enjoying the time I spent praying with the remains of people I have never met.  Saints are more alive than either you or me. They are proof that God works and give us hope that God will work in me and you.

Our Church Fathers recognize that the Christian experience is seemingly lonely in the world today.  But at the end of time, and when we pass from this world, every knee will bend and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Even now, the Saints are all around us—and more real than you and I. Choose a saint, get to know them, pray with them, and ask them to reveal Christ to you. He’s the real saint maker.