Friday, March 14, 2014

Year One of Pope Francis

Here he is, commuting to work in Argentina...

I vividly remember sitting in this chair last year on March 13, and seeing the new pope step out on the balcony over Saint Peter’s Square.  He was different from the beginning, graciously but firmly refusing the big chair and the red shoes… referring to himself as the Bishop of Rome. 
Since then he’s done many things no pope in living memory has done, all of them directed to the people.
I attribute some of his behavior and choices to his formation and identity as a Jesuit.  When a man goes through the “spiritual boot camp” of a Jesuit novitiate and tertianship, he experiences his own faults in a way that keeps him humble and keeps him in relation with others… a community man, as they say in the Vincentians. That’s why he doesn’t live in the Vatican apartments, but lives in simple quarters in the priests’ residence down the path… and he celebrates the Eucharist every morning, not alone, but with others present.
Not only that, he is the first pope who was ordained after Vatican II. He imbibed those documents about the inner nature of the Church right from the beginning of his ministry.
Do I sound happy about him?  I am.

 talking with reporters on the plane...

 in retreat, right in the midst of all the other guys...

 last Holy Thursday, washing the feet of the young prisoners in Rome.

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