‘Pope Francis & the People’: A Virtual Chat With the Pontiff [Video]

Pope Francis
In preparation for his upcoming visit to America, Pope Francis conducted a virtual chat, Pope Francis & the People, which was moderated by ABC News and 20/20 anchor David Muir. The pontiff spoke with the American people directly via satellite and answered questions posed by audience members in Chicago, Los Angeles, and McAllen, Texas. These locations were selected by the news agency because the pontiff will not be able to reach these areas during his much-anticipated upcoming trip to the United States. The main intention of the virtual chat was to reach as wide an audience as possible. The virtual chat aired as a 20/20 special on Friday, September 4 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. The entire special is also available online in English and Spanish at the ABC News website. There is a 10-minute video clip of the nearly hour-long chat located at the end of the article.

The selected speakers, which included a young man living in a shelter, a dedicated nun working with the poor, an undocumented teenager who had hoped to attend college on a soccer scholarship, and a homeless mother of two who recently moved into their first apartment after years of living at a shelter, were all people who have encountered adversity. While some of the speakers have overcome or improved their predicament, others continue to face harsh odds every day. The speakers were informed ahead of time that they would get an audience with the Holy Father.

During his virtual chat, Pope Francis & the People, the pontiff made a special acknowledgement of the work and dedication of Norma Pimentel, a Texas nun who has spent many years working with the poor and homeless. The pontiff lauded her efforts and devotion as well as expressed his love for her and the American people. Moreover, the Holy Father also expressed his excitement regarding his upcoming visit to the United States. Above all, the Holy Father advised the American people to be courageous and continue in service whenever possible. More details of the virtual chat are given in the video clip below, as well as in the full-length online posting of the special on the ABC News website.

Pope FrancisIn addition to his virtual chat, Pope Francis & the People, the pontiff also made headlines this week when he ventured out of the Vatican on Thursday, September 3, in order to visit the optician for new glasses as part of his preparations for his upcoming visit to the United States. His outing drew crowds hoping to catch a glimpse or perhaps a selfie of the pontiff outside his optician’s shop in central Rome. Pope Francis has become a worldwide celebrity since his ascension to the coveted role of Holy Father in March of 2013. Moreover, his papacy has proven more revolutionary and popular than any other pontiff in recent history. Furthermore, many credit Pope Francis with re-popularizing the Catholic Church and bridging the gap between generations as well as religions. He is viewed in many circles as an agent of change and unity.

While the new glasses could have been delivered to the Vatican, the pontiff insisted on making the trip downtown to his optician’s office this time. As demonstrated in the video clip below, this is more evidence of the Holy Father’s attempt to reach out to and connect with the global community as much as possible. Pope Francis was accompanied by a bodyguard, an assistant, and several members of the Swiss Guard, which serves as the papal police force. The pontiff also had an eye exam during his visit and decided to stick with his own simple frames, along with some new lenses.

As part of his preparation for his upcoming visit to America, the pontiff conducted a virtual chat, Pope Francis & the People, during which he spoke with the American people directly via satellite and answered questions posed by audience members in Chicago, Los Angeles, as well as McAllen, Texas. These locations were selected by the news agency because the pontiff will not be able to reach these areas during his much-anticipated upcoming trip to the United States. The main intention of the virtual chat was to reach as wide an audience as possible. The virtual chat aired as a 20/20 special on Friday, September 4 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. The entire special is also available online in English and Spanish at the ABC News website. As promised, enjoy the 10-minute video clip of Pope Francis’ virtual chat below.

Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh

Sources:
New York Times–Pope Francis Is Coming to America After Avoiding It for 78 Years
People–Pope Francis Draws a Huge Crowd – Shopping for New Glasses
ABC News–Pope Francis Tells Americans ‘Be Courageous’ During ABC News Virtual Audience

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