Austin bishop meets with Pope Francis in D.C.

One of Austin's own bishops made the journey to Washington D.C. this week to meet with Pope Francis.
Bishop Daniel Garcia joined the pope for a prayer service and mass. He is back in Austin and shared his experience.

He's known as the people's pope. He arrived in D.C. Wednesday in a Fiat, a move Austin Bishop Daniel Garcia says is just one of the many gestures, that shows his humility.

“I think that's why people are attracted to him, he's not someone who's this distant figure, but someone they feel they have a connection with,” Garcia said.

Garcia attended the prayer service and mass of canonization of controversial missionary, Junipero Serra.

“When we went there he didn't go there as a political leader, he went there as a spiritual leader,” Garcia said.

The pope acted as a bridge builder, addressing a divided congress in a joint session. It was a way to remind democrats and republicans of the common goal of world peace, amidst the ongoing refugee crisis.

"We must not be taken aback by the numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces," said Pope Francis.

“He's trying to help people see that we have different points of view but our common denominator is the common good of humanity,” said Garcia.

Garcia has been a bishop for only six months, but he says meeting the pope gave him the chance to learn how to lead.

“He wants us to begin to dialogue about the issues and not just put them aside,” Garcia said.

His interactions with the first Latin American pope were something the new bishop will take to heart in his new role in the church.

“The thing that resonates with me is our necessity as shepherds and as leaders,” Garcia said.

"Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict," Garcia said.

It’s violent conflict that may not have a sure timeline on when it could end.  It may have been brief, but Bishop Garcia believes the pope's visit may have just for a moment dropped partisan views at the Capitol, and showed unity for a common purpose, safety of human lives.
 

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