Speech of the Holy Father to Congress, 9.24.15
"I invite Christians, everywhere, at this very moment to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them. I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since 'no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.'” Joy of the Gospel #3
Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis is the 266th Bishop of Rome, Pope of the Catholic Church.
With an academic background in chemistry, in his youth he worked as a chemist, janitor, and as a night club bouncer prior to entering the seminary and entering the Jesuit religious order.
Pope Francis is a great fan of the Argentinian soccer club of San Lorenzo de Almagro and is a fan of tango dancing and traditional Argentinian music.
Pope Francis is the first pope from South America, the first Jesuit to serve as pope, and the first non-European chosen as pope since Pope Gregory III in 741 AD. He chose his name “Francis” to walk in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. He is the first pope to take the name of Francis.
Although a Cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop, he lived a simple lifestyle. Instead of living in the elegant episcopal palace of Buenos Aires, he occupied a small apartment, rode the bus to work, and cooked his own meals. His papal motto is “Miserando atque eligendo” – “by mercy and by choosing,” which is a reference to the calling of Matthew, a sinful tax collector, as an Apostle by Jesus.
Mercy is one of the guiding principles of his work as Pope, so much so that he has declared a Holy Year of Mercy, beginning December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
The best way to understand the ministry of Pope Francis is to read his own words.
Evangelii Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel, Selected Paragraphs (read this one first)
Below are some notable passages.
Lumen Fidei – the Light of Faith, which was begun by Pope Benedict XVI, and then finished by Pope Francis.
Laudato Si – On the Care of our Common Home
Fr. Bird and Fr. John at the canonization mass for St. Junipero Serra, celebrated by Pope Francis.