A group of interfaith leaders are welcoming Pope Francis to the United States.
In a short July 27 letter sent directly to the pope at the Vatican, the religious leaders said their work on behalf of social justice, inclusion and equality has been “renewed by your clarity of vision and your bold statement of the truth of the needs of our time.”
“We know that we all need to be called to a change of heart and we are so grateful for raising up that call,” the letter said.
Noting that the pope will address Congress Sept. 24 on the last day of his visit to Washington before heading to New York and Philadelphia, the leaders said they were eagerly anticipating the pontiff’s visit.
“As people of faith we look forward to your message and are eager to share it with members of our various faiths and denominations. Our nation needs to hear your word of hope and challenge,” the leaders said.
Fourteen of the letter’s 35 signers are Catholic including the heads of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Franciscan Action Network, Jubilee USA Network, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Network, the Catholic social justice lobby, Pax Christ USA, Pax Christi International, Maryknoll Sisters, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and Sisters of the Good Shepherd as well representatives of other Catholic organizations.
They joined leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups including National Council of Churches, USA, Lutheran Services in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Islamic Society of North America, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, and Unitarian Universalist Association.