The Walk with Francis Pledge is off and running, with just under two months until the Holy Father visits Washington, DC, we are in a race to reach 100,000 people taking the pledge.
Here are five reasons why the pledge matters and why you (yes, you!) should take the pledge today:
1. This is the Washington-metropolitan region's gift to Pope Francis when he visits.
It is common for visiting dignitaries to receive gifts, usually something fancy or rare. Certainly the Speaker of the House and the President will both offer lovely gifts when they get to meet the Pope. But what about all of us? The Walk with Francis Pledge (and the good works that come with it) is our gift. With a goal of 100,000 people taking the pledge, what could be a better gift for the Pope than to share with him the news of 100,000+ committing to pray for him, serve the community or act for social justice in his honor?
2. The pledge will make our community better.
No matter what you do to carry out your pledge, you'll be making our community better. If your passion is working with animals, volunteer at a local animal shelter. If you care deeply about the safety and future of immigrants, volunteer with Catholic Charities or become an advocate. Or if you have an elderly neighbor, help out with their snow and leaf clearing this fall and winter. If you were moved by the Pope's recent environmental encyclical (Laudato Si), volunteer to clean-up at a river site or plant new trees.
3. The pledge offers you an opportunity to deepen your own spiritual life.
So much of our day-to-day life passes in a blur. The pledge offers you a moment to step back and take inventory of what your spiritual health is. One of the very first things Pope Francis did was ask the entire world to pray for him. We can all do that.
4. The pledge is open to everybody - no matter your faith, where you live, or anything else.
The reason Pope Francis has caught the world's attention so profoundly is simple: he walks the walk. He washes the feet of prisoners. He travels to the Mediterranean Sea to mourn those who have died fleeing violence. He even cares for the guards outside of his room! Pope Francis has reminded us all that no one is above service to others. And, when he stands outside of Catholic Charities in two months, we want to show him we stand with him in that service.
5. Do you really want to miss the chance to have your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in front of the Pope?!
This is why the hashtag is so important: your social media posts using #WalkwithFrancis will be included in a book given to the Pope by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, as a token of the 100,000 people who have committed to service. In the age of social media, that's a pretty incredible opportunity!
So what are you waiting for? Take the pledge now!