A year ago to this day the Universal Church celebrated as white smoke appeared above the roof of the Sistine Chapel announcing to the world “We have a pope”. Today marks the first anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Francis. And what an extraordinary year it has been!
The Argentine pope has attracted much media attention these past twelve months with his noble simplicity. There has been much hype surrounding some of his remarks prompting the Vatican to point out those times where the world’s media have either taken things out of context. His emphasis on the fundamental option for the poor; treating everyone with respect, dignity and compassion; and the challenge to the ‘lukewarm’ to embrace the challenge (the Cross) of Christian living, have made a deep impact on many of the world’s Catholics. From the moment he appeared on the logia at St. Peter’s and he asked everyone to pray for him, he won the affection of many people throughout the world.
When the name Jorge Mario Cardinal Borgolio was announced there was excitement, after all we have a new father, a new pope, but there was also confusion about this little known Prince of the Church. In this past year he has been a booming voice for the Church in his example. True witness to the Gospel comes from our way of life, not standing on the street corner. The Holy Father has much work to do in the Church but he is also a Son of the Church and called by God to steer the barque of Peter through these most interesting and exciting times for Catholics everywhere.
The Church has had a succession of three amazing Popes who have opened up our faith in different ways. Let us pray on this special day for God’s continued blessing upon Pope Francis and the Church.