Robert Hurt: The Pope reminds us of our obligation to our fellow man

Robert_HurtLast Thursday, Pope Francis addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.  It was a great honor to receive Pope Francis on his first trip to the United States.  He is the first pope to ever address Congress, and I am grateful for his message of hope and compassion.

This message was not only for Congress, but also for our country and the world.  He reminded us of our obligation to help those who are in need, treat our fellow man with respect and dignity, and do our best to pass on the great blessings we have received to future generations.  The Pope spoke to the virtue to the family and the sanctity of every human being, challenging us to value each and every life.

I had the great privilege of inviting many Fifth District Virginians to this historic event, and I thank all of those who joined us for the Pope’s visit.  Among the attendees was Madeline Key of Pittsylvania County, who came along with her priest from Saint Victoria Catholic Church, Father Jim Gallagher.  A devout parishioner for most of her 87 years, this was Ms. Key’s first time seeing a pope in person, making it a truly special occasion.

We were also joined by students and faculty from Sacred Heart Catholic School in Danville, Charlottesville Catholic School, and St. John the Evangelist School in Warrenton.  I am grateful to all of the parents and faculty who made their trip to Washington possible.  I was honored to have young people here with us to witness and appreciate this once in a lifetime occasion.  I hope they share their experience with others and cherish these memories for years to come.

After the address, I visited with these students and spoke with them about their observations of the Pope’s remarks.  They were grateful to have had the opportunity to see the Pope in person and spoke very articulately about the historic importance of his visit.  The students were particularly moved by the Pope’s emphasis on our young people and the importance of providing opportunities for them to succeed.  And each school group said that they were most excited when Pope Francis concluded by saying, “God Bless America.”

Indeed, speaking with the students we hosted reinforced my focus on their futures when making policy choices.  We have so many blessings as Americans, and it is our responsibility to protect their chances for a brighter future, just as previous generations did for us.  It is my hope that Pope Francis’ address will continue remind us of the fundamental reasons that we serve – to help others, and to do so with respect and compassion for those around us.  I hope as a Congress we hold the blessing of his visit in the spirit it was intended – close to our hearts.  I will certainly keep his message in mind as I continue to serve the good people of Virginia’s Fifth District.

If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.

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