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Three Years Ago Today

2016-03-16 15:30

Three years ago today

“Habemus papam!” Three years ago today, the bells of St Peter’s rang out across Rome as white smoke gushed out of the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.  “Habemus Papam! Jorge Mario Bergoglio dall’Argentina è Papa Francesco.” “We have a Pope! Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is Pope Francis.” … and across the world, on 16 March 2013, people thought, “Who?”

 

A few minutes later, a figure clad in an ill-fitting white cassock stood on the balcony and asked the vast crowd gathered, not only in St Peter’s Square, but also before radios, television sets and computer screens to pray for him. That simple gesture of a self-professedly shy man touched countless hearts.

 

Within the space of three years, Pope Francis has reached out to the poor, the marginalised and the forgotten.  He has picked up the telephone to speak to men, women and children whom he thought he could help. He is the first Pope in modern times to be seen, not only offering but also personally accepting the sacrament of reconciliation, publicly kneeling at the confessional.

 

Pope Francis has gone where many others would fear to walk, fearlessly challenging religious and civil authorities to live in truth and integrity. Yet he has also constructed washrooms for the homeless within the beautiful Bernini colonnades of St Peter’s. He has given hope to millions of people.

 

On his third anniversary, we thank God for the leadership of Pope Francis and pray for his continuing health and wisdom. May God bless him, now and throughout the coming years.


Sr Janet Fearns

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