Unless you have been on another planet, you will know that this week Washington, D.C. will welcome an important guest. For a city accustomed as it is to greeting significant persons, from those renowned for acts of heroism, academic ability, or sporting prowess, to heads of state (I believe the King of Spain dropped by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this week), there is a surprising amount of excitement as we prepare for the arrival of Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, on Tuesday. In an interview this week, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, in his capacity as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, underlined why this might be so: “The Holy Father,” he said, “comes as a pastor”. How true this is. As the Successor of Saint Peter, to whom Christ entrusted the power of binding and loosing hand-in-hand with the command to “feed my sheep”, the Holy Father stands in the shoes of the fisherman and as such is bound to exercise the pastoral office given him as the shepherd or pastor of the whole of Christ’s flock (Jn 21). As Peter was girded about and led to martyrdom, so his successors are called to set aside their own life in service of the universal Church as “the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (LG 23).