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During Wednesday’s edition of TV One’s NewsOne Now, Roland Martin spoke with Rev. Bryan Massingale, Professor of Theological Ethics at Marquette University; Deacon Al Turner, Executive Director, Office of Black Catholics, Archdiocese of Washington; and DeKarlos Blackmon, Supreme Knight & CEO of The Knights of Peter Claver, about Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States, and discussed the impact the Holy Father’s visit will have on Black Catholics.

Rev. Massingale described him as being “unique among the modern Popes.”

“He has captured the imagination of the world. He’s a world leader and I think the key to his popularity is that the man not only has a prophetic message of concern for the marginalized — you know Matthew 25 — Reaching out to those who are hungry and homeless, but he is also a person who seems to embody these things,” said Massingale.

Deacon Al Turner told Martin that Pope Francis, “embodies everything that I’ve been taught as a deacon and as a believer about what it means to pastor the flock and the whole flock.

Turner continued, “He sees the whole picture here. That everyone is a child of God and he treats everyone in that particular way, and I think that is a real role model for all of us to follow.”

DeKarlos Blackmon, head of the largest group of Black Catholics in the world, told Martin, “Pope Francis is clearly a Pope that Black people can identify with.”

“Pope Francis who comes from us for us,” said Blackmon. He added the Pontiff meets people “in whatever stages they are in life,” which in his eyes is “particularly tremendous.”

“If you look at the United States — just looking at the prison system, there are an inordinate amount of Blacks and Browns in prisons and the Holy Father coming over here — he’s going to visit penitentiaries,” said Blackmon.

Later during their conversation, Blackmon told Martin, that Pope Francis “appeals to people’s morals to do the right thing” and he also wants us to “remember that everyone is your neighbor, whether they look like you or not.”

Watch Roland Martin, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Deacon Al Turner, DeKarlos Blackmon, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States and the impact his visit may have on Black Catholics.

Stay tuned to NewsOne Now for our continuing coverage of the Pontiff’s tour of America. Tune in weekdays at 7 A.M. ET to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


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Pope Francis In America: How Will The Pontiff’s Visit Impact Black Catholics?  was originally published on