Megan Panagopoulos

On Wednesday July 22, Cardinal Donald Wuerl from the Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington President and CEO John Enzler announced a joint campaign of service to prepare for the pope’s arrival in September.

Cardinal Wherl stressed that the Walk With Francis Pledge is open to all members of the D.C. area, regardless of religion, orientation or background. He spoke highly of Pope Francis’ ability to include everyone and the Pledge’s asks of service to the poor and care for human.

“There are three simple ways to do this. When you take the pledge you’re saying that I’m going to pray/learn until the pope arrives, I’m going to perform a service of some form or other, or I’m going to do something to actively help those in need,” said Monsignor Enzler.

Individuals, families, and groups can participate by pledging to pray, serve, or act – and documenting their pledge progress on social media. Upon Pope Francis’ arrival, Cardinal Wuerl will present him with a collection of every single post and pledge. If anyone does not have access to social media, pledges can be recorded manually and turned into local parishes.

Cardinal Wherl’s hope for this campaign is that it will bring the community together in preparation for the pope’s visit. The name, Walk with Francis, represents inclusivity where the community, not just members of the Catholic Church, can come together for the greater good.

“Frankly, I couldn’t be more excited and honored that Pope Francis is coming here to celebrate our work,” Monsignor Enzler said.

Catholic Charities provides clothing, shelter, and health programs to over 120,000 people in the Washington metropolitan area each year. Monsignor Enzler pledged to spend a night with homeless people between now and September to be able to truly get a glimpse of what they are up against.

Robert Crawford, a formerly homeless man who frequents Catholic Charities, also took a pledge.

“My pledge is help out someone who is trying real hard to get back on their feet. Because I’ve been there and done that and I know the struggle.” said Crawford.