Photo of Pope Francis at St. Patrick's Church in DC
credit: Anthony Crawford

I shook the pope’s hand. It was a very warm, spiritual experience for me. It made me feel blessed. I’ve been blessed with a lot of things. I’ve been blessed to find Street Sense, to get housing, to help other people… I’ve just been blessed. This was the very highlight.

Then I got to meet two of his archbishops. They blessed me as well and we took photographs together. Then I met former lieutenant governor of Maryland Anthony Steele, and his wife. They served me lunch and ate with me. We talked politics and football. His wife is a big Steelers fan like me.

We talked a little bit about homelessness, and agreed there should be no homeless people in this country. This country is so rich in resources. Just here in D.C. there are nonprofits like Catholic Charities, Martha’s Table; and government agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) headquarters. The people running these organizations should do more outreach, like Pathways to Housing.

We said prayers, took photographs and went our separate ways. I went home and told some people about my experiences. I called my wife and told her. I called my buddy Reed and told him.

After that I felt good. When Pope Francis shook my hand, I felt like he was blessing me because I found the means to get myself off the street.

(More about the Steelers in my next column!)