University of Scranton Students, Faculty and Staff Watch Pope Francis’ Historic Address to Congress

September 29, 2015

Nearly 200 University of Scranton students, faculty and staff filled the PNC Auditorium of the Loyola Science Center to watch Pope Francis address a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress via a live video stream Sept. 24.

“Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives,” said Pope Francis during his historic address to Congress.

“Today I would like not only to address you, but through you, the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and – one step at a time – to build a better life for their families,” said Pope Francis.

Pope Francis’ speech touched on pressing issues for the country, including immigration and climate change, and stressed dialog and cooperation to address these and other issues.

“The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience,” said Pope Francis. “In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society.’

Pope Francis called attention to American values through the contributions of four great historical American figures: Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton

“A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton,” said Pope Francis.

In addition to University students, faculty and staff, members of the Scranton Times-Tribune, WBRE and WNEP news teams were present and published stories about the event.

The event was organized by the University’s Education for Justice Program, the Office of Campus Ministries and the Office of Sustainability.

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