Pope Francis spoke with American audiences in three different locations on August 31, in a videolink event hosted by the ABC television network and broadcast on September 4.
The Pontiff spoke with students at Cristo Rey High School, a Jesuit-run cooperative venture for students in inner-city Chicago; with parishioners in McAllen, Texas, an impoverished town on the Mexican border, and with participants in a Los Angeles program serving the homeless.
To a student, he spoke of the importance of having courage and being accompanied by good companions: “walk hand in hand with Jesus, walk hand in hand with the Virgin.”
Addressing a single mother in Los Angeles, he said, “I know it’s not easy being a single mother … but I tell you one thing: you’re a brave woman because you were able to bring these two daughters into the world. You could have killed them in your womb, and you respected life, you respected the life that you had in you, and God is going to reward you.”
“Always look to the figure of Jesus,” the Pope told a member of the audience in Texas who asked him about problems such as poverty, immigration, and education. “I look at Jesus on the cross and discover the silence of God … Do not forget that God speaks to us with words, gestures and silences.”
Pope Francis then compared the response to such problems to a soccer game in which the opponents are “social friendship,” for which God created us, and “social enmity,” exemplified by Cain’s murder of Abel.
The Pope concluded by speaking of his love for American women religious, saying he prays for the American people, and requesting prayers.