The arrival of Pope Francis caused quite a stir, shutting down the city like never before.
People from all over came to see a man whose progressive ideas are breathing new life into the Catholic Church and to society at large. He's emerging as a compelling world leader, and many of us are tuning in.
That's not to say that I'm on board with all his thinking, such as his stance on homosexuality, adoption with same sex couples or abortion, but his eyes and ears appear to be open, which is an important step in the right direction.
He can't erase the Church's wrongdoings of the past, but he is acknowledging them which will hopefully change the course going forward.
The Pope's presence here for the World Meeting of Families has awoken in many of us deep yearning and faith that the world can be a better place.
And it's not just that he's calling for people to pray for it; he's calling on people to act upon it: to help the impoverished, the immigrants, each other...to be the best we can be.
In which case isn't this a humanitarian message, and not so much a religious one? After all, it's not just Catholics who want to be good people and live in a peaceful world; we ALL do. We are all much similar than different, aren't we?
Thinking like this always gets me into trouble, leading me to start questioning everything.
For example, what really is the difference between a Catholic woman and me, a Jew?
I'm no theologian, but I'd say that one of the most noteworthy hallmarks of each religion centers on the deity with which a relationship is formed and a prayer is directed...so while I pray to G-d, perhaps my Catholic friend would pray to a saint.
We could be standing side by side and praying with the same intentions at heart: Make Bradley well, bring a baby into Jane's life, don't let Derrick and Joy lose their home and so forth.
What I don't get is why associating with a religion that we call our own seems to create a divide that separates us far more than unifies us. It's not like one entity is pure and one is evil.
It's all supposed to be good.