Pope should visit shrine

Pope Francis should take a look next year at a local site closely connected to four saints.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs expects to soon invite the pope to visit the site during his planned 2015 visit to Philadelphia and New York.

The trip would be Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States.

Given the responsibilities of the holy father, it is probably too much to expect him to visit our nation too often.

While some may think Auriesville is too small, it has a lot of great, relevant history for the Catholic Church.

Three missionaries – St. Father Isaac Jogues, St. Rene Goupil and St. John Lalande – were martyred at the site of the shrine in the 1640s.

Of course, the site is also associated with St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Kateri, who died in 1680, was born in Auriesville. She became the first Native American saint in 2012. For the local shrines, Kateri’s sainthood ended years of efforts to have Kateri named a saint.

Most of all, we think Catholics – and interested spectators – throughout the Capital Region would appreciate the visit.

Pope Francis has become known and appreciated for his humble, respectful manner – demonstrated to people of all faiths.

We are confident Pope Francis would receive a warm reception in Montgomery County.

The visit also would give a spiritual boost to a site that is working on making sure it can continue to properly welcome visitors for years to come. While the threat of closure has been eliminated, the site is still looking to raise more money for repairs. The site has raised about $250,000, but is looking to bring in $1 million total for further work.

The pope would receive larger crowds in Philadelphia and New York City, but no audience would appreciate his visit more than the one at the shrine.