TEN YEARS OF PAPE FRANCIS, María Fischer •
“Today, from his homeland, we continue to entrust him to our Mother del Buen Aire and to his Father, St. Joseph. That is why we wanted to celebrate in this cathedral, his cathedra, from which he left us gestures and words that we keep in our memory and in our hearts,” said Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli on March 13, 2023, in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires, ten years after the election of his predecessor, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as Pope. —
“The pilgrim Church of Argentina expresses its great joy for the unique emotional bond that unites us to the Vicar of Christ, who was our Cardinal Bergoglio for more than 15 years,” he added.
On the evening of 13 March 2013, I was working the late shift at the customer service centre of the bank where I was employed at the time. Without internet or mobile phone access, I had to rely on hearing something in the background when talking to customers. But most, if not all, of my customers were watching the live broadcast of the Bayern Munich game. “They have a new pope,” says a Muslim colleague out of the blue. “Who did it become?” asks someone from the other corner. A young colleague says just loud enough for the supervisor not to hear, “I didn’t catch the name, he’s older, from some country in South America, I don’t know…”. She doesn’t know. But now I know. It is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the cardinal of “my” Buenos Aires taxi drivers. A few days ago, we published his message for Holy Week on schoenstatt.org. To those who were going to translate it into Portuguese and English, I said: “Translate it carefully, I think we are translating the future Pope”.
I never imagined how much this new Pope would influence my life and the mission of schoenstatt.org, and even less that today, ten years later, I would be sitting in his Cathedral in Buenos Aires to thank him – also on behalf of the schoenstatt.org team – for his pontificate and his service to our Church. Here I am, on an indescribably hot day, at this Mass for the tenth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, with Cardinal Poli, concelebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio, 11 bishops and 15 priests, including Jorge González, Auxiliary Bishop of La Plata, from the Schoenstatt Priests’ Federation. A large number of journalists and photographers were present, including those from the major media such as Reuters and AP. The festive and simple liturgy was accompanied by the choir with popular songs and the organ.
Everything he touches becomes young, becomes new, becomes full of life
In his homily, the archbishop of Buenos Aires said, “On this new anniversary of his election as successor of Peter, we join the prayer of the whole Church for Pope Francis and want to renew our fidelity to the one who, as a good shepherd, carries on his shoulders the universal community of the faithful.”
The cardinal highlighted the “programmatic encyclical” Evangelii Gaudium, the roadmap for Francis’ pontificate: “In it, the Pope expresses, ‘I dream of a missionary option capable of changing everything, so that customs, styles, schedules, language and every ecclesial structure become a suitable channel for the evangelization of today’s world and not for self-preservation.'” The cardinal stressed, “The letter, the spirit and the charism of this document have given rise to a new missionary impulse and have inspired many pastoral initiatives throughout the world, reflecting the desire for a Church in going forth. The projection of this letter opened and continues to open new paths for evangelization.”
He mentioned the synods dedicated to two pastoral priorities of Pope Francis: the family and young people, with his message to young people and the whole Church: “Everything he touches becomes young, becomes new, is filled with life.”
“Guided by the logic of the Gospel, which presents us with a Good Shepherd with a hundred sheep, the Pope invited us several times to take a wide look at the marginality and the complex diversity in which we live, because, as he said these days, ‘Jesus wants to see them all inside’.”
At the end of the homily, he invited all of us to do what Pope Francis had asked on March 13 and continues to ask: to pray for him. We did this simply by praying a Hail Mary and an Our Father, filling “his” cathedral with prayer for him.
Thank you, Pope Francis, for every year, for every word, for every gesture.
Full text of the homily (in Spanish)
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org