Today marks the end of Pope Francis’ visit to the US and the end to an exciting week full of hope and positivity.
Arriving in Washington DC on Tuesday September 22, he met with US President Barack Obama and spoke to the Joint Session of Congress before jetting off to New York to address the UN General Assembly, attend an interfaith service at the 9/11 memorial and saying mass in Madison Square Garden.
He finished off his trip by spending the weekend in Philadelphia from where he will depart for Rome today.
He has attracted thousands and thousands out to greet him but why? We look at why Pope Francis is so loved.
1. Pope Francis promotes happiness not fear
It is rare to see an image of Pope Francis in which he is not smiling and that is because he doesn’t just promote a life of positivity and happiness, he lives it. In 2014, he offered us up his 10 keys to happiness so everybody would know his secret to a happy lifestyle.
2. He cares about our planet
Pope Francis believes we need to do more to save our planet from climate change. He took a tough stance on this while addressing the UN General Assembly during his New York visit. “The ecological crisis, and the large scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species,” he said.
3. He’s willing to forgive
Although Pope Francis is still very much a conservative and will not go far enough for some, he is willing to forgive those who he doesn’t agree with, and that is at least a step towards the future. For example, he recently shocked many more conservative members of the Church by stating that women who have an abortion should be forgiven although he does still believe it’s a sin.
4. He doesn’t just speak, he acts on it
When addressing the refugee crisis in Europe, Pope Francis did not just ask others to take them into their homes, he invited two families to stay in the Vatican.
5. He brings all religions together
Regardless of religion, everybody was excited to have Pope Francis in the US. All creeds were included in his visit, highlighted by the interfaith service that took place at the 9/11 memorial last Friday morning, attended by religious leaders from Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism Buddhism and Sikhism, all offering prayers on the theme of peace.
The Holy See also disagrees with those who try and convert others, believing that we should engage in open dialogue about our own identity instead of attempting to force beliefs on others.
6. He once lived in Dublin
As reported by IrishCentral earlier this week, Pope Francis spent a few months in Dublin 35 years ago to study English.
7. He’s a humanist
Ridding the world of inequality is one of the main aims of Pope Francis who has committed himself during his time as Pope to make sure that the worth of each person is recognized.
8. He cares about young people
Stopping off and visiting schools has been among the many things listed on Pope Francis’ packed agenda during his time here. He has already also stated that he wants to tackle youth unemployment so as to help young people worldwide live better lives.
9. He believes in rest and relaxation
Although he may work on a Sunday, that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. As part of his 10 keys to happiness, Pope Francis states that Sunday is most definitely a day of rest and we should all put time aside for ourselves, having “a healthy sense of leisure.”
Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness. Secret #4 - Have a healthy sense of leisure pic.twitter.com/nHofXp05bX— Fox5NY (@fox5ny) September 25, 2015
10. He is willing to meet with everybody
Pope Francis is known as a man of the people because he’s willing to interact with them. He’s been seen joking around with newly-married couples in the Vatican and he even engages in dialogue with atheists.