Early in Pope Francis’s pontificate, the sense of expectation was enormous.
He spoke simply and powerfully. He stayed away from the typical trappings of papal luxury. He was seen as an outsider and a natural reformer. He stirred some trepidation among conservatives, but not enough to override the global adulation. “The People’s Pope,” Time magazine called him, naming him person of the year in 2013.
Today is 10 years since Francis was elected pope. In that time, he has retained many of his personal hallmarks, and he has altered the Catholic Church in important and potentially enduring ways, including by making pillars out of issues such as migration and the environment.
Pope Francis asked for prayers as he spoke about the future of the Church and his pontificate so far in an interview published yesterday.
“Being the pope is not an easy job. Nobody has studied before doing this,” the pope said, recalling how St. Peter also “fell” when he denied Christ.
“But, after the resurrection, Jesus chose [Peter] again,” Pope Francis explained. “That is the mercy of the Lord towards us. Also towards the pope.
Asked about his wish for the world, Pope Francis responded: “peace.” He also criticized what he called a “globalization of indifference” in the face of tragedies like war: “The turning a blind eye and saying, ‘Why should I care? It doesn’t interest me! It’s not my problem!’”
Francis said one of his dreams for the future of the Church is a Church which ventures out into the world and is among the people.
Addressing readers of the newspaper, he asked for prayers from those who pray and “good vibes” from those who do not. “The pope loves you and is praying for you.”
“Even if bad things happen, even if you have had a bad experience with someone from the Church, don’t let it condition you. The Lord is always waiting for you with open arms. I hope you succeed in experiencing it within your lives like I have within mine many times. The Lord has always been beside me, above all in the darkest moments.”
As Pope Francis celebrates the 10th anniversary of his papacy, may we lead by his example of caring for the poor, reaching out to people often overlooked and sharing the joy of the Gospel.
Here are 10 facts about Pope Francis, shared by the Archdiocese of Bombay.