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In this commemorative special issue, we bring you the highlights of the March 13, 2013, election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, SJ, as Pope Francis


Pope Francis
By: Catholic News Service


Each issue carries an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Reprinting prohibited
On March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected by his fellow cardinals as the 266th pope.

The first Jesuit pope, he has taken the name Francis (also a first) after the universally beloved St. Francis of Assisi.

Known as a man of simplicity, humility, and care for the poor, he brings to the papacy a renewed emphasis on Gospel living.

"Francesco, Francesco"

By Carol Zimmerman and Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—The tens of thousands of rain-drenched pilgrims who filled St. Peter’s Square March 13 joyously cheered the new leader of the Church, Pope Francis. Cheers of “Francesco! Francesco! Francesco!” resounded throughout the square as the pope greeted the exuberant crowd in Italian and blessed them from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

When the name of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was announced, the crowd was momentarily quiet and visibly puzzled, but they clapped and cheered when they heard the name Francis, even if they did not yet know much about the new pontiff.

“The choice of the name was beautiful for us. St. Francis is the patron saint of Italy,” said Celsa Negrini of Rome. “It was a beautiful evening. We’re so happy to have an Argentine pope and it was about time we had someone from Latin America.” “He seems very humble; his demeanor seems very positive. He will be a pope who evangelizes people’s consciences,” she added.

The crowd already had waited for hours hoping to see white smoke pouring from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. When it finally appeared, shouts and cheers erupted from the crowd as people rushed to get closer to the front of St. Peter’s Basilica to catch a glimpse of the new pope.

Pope Francis has a reputation as a spiritual man with a talent for pastoral leadership. In Buenos Aires, he rode the bus, visited the poor, lived in a simple apartment, and cooked his own meals. To many, he was known simply as “Father Jorge.”

His homilies and speeches emphasize that all people are brothers and sisters. He has expressed a desire that the Church make everyone feel welcome, respected, and cared for. While largely steering clear of commenting directly on Argentina’s sometimes-troubled political establishment, Pope Francis has not tried to hide the social aspect of the Gospel message, particularly important in a country still recovering from economic crisis.

"We Have a Pope"

By Francis X. Rocca and Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—On the second day of the conclave, on the fifth ballot came a surprisingly quick conclusion to an election that began with many plausible candidates and no clear favorite.

White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney at 7:05 p.m., March 13, signaling the cardinals had chosen a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Two minutes later, the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica began ringing continuously to confirm the election.

At 8:12, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran appeared at the basilica balcony and made the formal announcement in Latin. “I announce to you a great joy: We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend lord, Lord Jorge Mario, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bergoglio, who has taken for himself the name Francis.”



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What's in a Name?

By Diane M. Houdek

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first pope in history to come from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European to be elected in more than a thousand years.

Upon his election he chose the name Francis. In a talk to journalists on March 16, the new pope explained: “That is how the name came into my heart: Francis of Assisi. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation.... He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man.… How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!”

One of the most celebrated stories of St. Francis is that of his conversion in the tiny, tumble-down church of San Damiano outside the gates of Assisi. Francis’s calling crystallized when he was praying in the ruined chapel and heard a voice from the crucifix saying, “Go, rebuild my church, which, as you can see, is falling into ruin.”

Francis began repairing the physical chapel itself; later he recognized that his calling was to help rebuild the universal Church. By calling his followers to a radical embrace of the Gospel, he renewed spiritual life in the Middle Ages.

The pope’s choice of name is particularly appropriate as there is wide agreement that the Roman Catholic Church today is in need of some rebuilding. The pope faces many challenges from scandals within the Vatican and the wider Church to the Church’s struggle to remain relevant in an increasingly secular world.

In accepting the election by his peers, Pope Francis has demonstrated his willingness to embrace this sacred duty. In the spirit of St. Francis, he seems to be setting about it in his own simple, humble, and effective way.



Catholic News Service, through the auspices of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, brings local, national, and international news of the Catholic Church to diocesan papers and countless other publications, including AmericanCatholic.org.


NEXT: Celebrating Mary: Feasts of Our Lady

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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Heavenly Father, I am sure there are frequently tiny miracles where you protect us and are present to us although you always remain anonymous. Help me appreciate how carefully you watch over me and my loved ones all day long, and be sensitive enough to stay close to you. I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.

 
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