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Posted on Sep 23, 2015 |

Watch Pope Francis on Fountain Square

Watch Pope Francis on Fountain Square

Have your photo taken with a cutout of Pope Francis on Fountain Square Thursday, when the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's staff will be at the Square for a broadcast of the pope's address to Congress.

Have your photo taken with a cutout of Pope Francis on Fountain Square Thursday, when the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s staff will be at the Square for a broadcast of the pope’s address to Congress.

The Catholic faith will take to the public square tomorrow — literally — when the Archdiocese of Cincinnati sponsors a live broadcast of Pope Francis’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress to the giant screen at Cincinnati’s Fountain Square.

“We’re closing our offices to go down to the Square,” says Sean Ater, Director of New Evangelization for the Archdiocese. “It’s an opportunity to witness as Catholics in the public square, so we’ll serve free coffee and share a prayer and be on hand to meet people.”

The event is also the capstone in the Office’s Food for All Campaign, which aimed at collecting 1 million food items and 5000 letters to Congress addressing hunger. Exhibits will explain the campaign, and Ater says staff will also reach out to the public in other ways.

“We’ll have a cutout of the pope so people can take selfies with him,” Ater says — a simple way to reach out that the Office has found to be extremely popular. “We’ll also be telling people about our website, Stir the Flame. There’s a section called ‘Stories’ where people share stories about how they pray, who their favorite saint is, things like that. It’s kind of a Humans of New York-type thing. We’ll be sitting down with people, taking their pictures and hearing their stories.”

The first-ever address to Congress by a pope, the speech is a rare opportunity to reach out to people who find Pope Francis intriguing but know little about Catholicism.

“Many people are not interested, but they’re curious,” Ater says. “Pope Francis is spontaneous and people want to know what he’s going to say. They may not know anything about his real message, but they’re open to it. That’s a real opportunity for us, because a lot of the time they’re not even curious.”

Several other Archdiocesan offices, including the Vocations office, will hold exhibits, and several religious orders will also be on hand with materials about their lives and missions.

Archbishop Schnurr has asked every parish to ring its bells at 10 am for the pope’s address, and the Archdiocesan staff — who will assemble on the Square at about 9:30 — will lead a prayer just before the pontiff begins.

“We realize that Catholics throughout the Archdiocese – and the United States – will be watching the Pope throughout his U.S. visit on television or on their computers,” says Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese. “But we wanted to provide a forum where people could watch his historic speech to Congress together in celebratory way. What could be more appropriate in Cincinnati than to literally bring the pope into the public square at Fountain Square, the heart of the city?”

There is no charge for the broadcast, which begins at 10 am.

Photo by John Stegeman for the Catholic Telegraph; courtesy the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Office of the New Evangelization.

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  1. +Schnurr: Prayer for Pope Francis | The Catholic Beat - […] For our story on events at Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, where the address will be broadcast live, click here. […]