Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States seemed to capture the ears, eyes, hearts, and minds of millions of Americans. While one would expect Catholics to pay especially close attention to the Pope’s words, if news reports can be taken at face value, millions of others not of the Catholic faith were also enthralled by the Pope’s message.
When our children got engaged, we experienced both joy and concern. We observed the happy couple’s excitement as the wedding plans developed, and we hoped they were ready for what lay ahead of them.
When I think of family, the image of my parents and siblings comes to mind. One of ten children with seven brothers and two sisters, I come from a prototypical Catholic family of the 1950s. My parents have been married to one another for 65 years and have lived in the same home since 1954. When we gather in the house for family celebrations, more than 75 people attend: children, spouses, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Some have college degrees, but most do not. Some are active Catholics or Protestants while others are not. And from my immediate family, nine are married to their first spouse. While for me this is a “normal” family, I know my understanding varies greatly from most people. But then “normal” is a different experience for every family.