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Bishop Matano Reflects On The Visit This Week By The Pope

Bishop Salvatore Matano
Diocese of Rochester
Bishop Salvatore Matano

When Pope Francis arrives in Washington this week, he will meet with U.S. bishops on Wednesday.

It will be a special moment for many Catholics and clergy, including the man who leads the Rochester Diocese, Bishop Salvatore Matano.

Matano has met two previous popes, John Paul and Benedict. He tells WXXI News there’s no guarantee he will actually get to meet Pope Francis personally, but he is still very pleased just to be among in attendance when the Bishops gather Wednesday to join the Pope in prayer at a cathedral in Washington.

“When we meet with the whole father it’s always a very beautiful and uplifting experience as it was with St. John Paul the second for me and Pope Benedict XVI, and it’s not so much what we expect from him as the opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to service with him in the church.”

It’s not just the bishops who will be inspired, according to Matano. He says the visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis will likely be inspiring to many Catholics.

“I think it will energize the faithful just by the very positive anticipation demonstrated by the faithful for his visit. The coverage that the press gives to us helps all our people, whether they are able to be in an event with the holy father or view it through TV, it’s always a wonderful  opportunity for them to connect with the holy father.”

Pope Francis has been seen as someone whose outgoing, humble personality has struck a chord with many people around the world, and Bishop Matano expects that connection to resonate even more when he speaks before crowds in America this week.

“I would expect his connection with the faithful here would be very positive, the people already seem very excited that he is coming to be with us and the same connection that has been demonstrated in other circumstances in other parts of the world  I’m sure will be repeated and reflected here.”

Matano says the Pope’s presence is intended to make that personal connection, to inspire the faithful but also to find a way that Catholics can relate to.

“He is the one who confirms for the whole church the core beliefs of our practice of the faith , so that the faith is not something that is ethereal  or abstract or removed from our lives, but the faith  is the real foundation for the decisions we make , the choices that our part of our lives.”

Another well-known pastoral leader from Rochester will also get to see Pope Francis during his visit to Washington. Bishop Matthew Clark, who retired as the Catholic bishop of Rochester in 2012, is a guest of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter when Pope Francis addresses Congress on Thursday.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.