Habemus Papam – Eight years of Pope Francis

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Vatican News / Rome Reports – On March 13, 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope. It was at 7:06pm when the white smoke emerged from atop the Sistine Chapel, signalling the election of a new Pope. 

Vatican News refers to the pontificate as one which focuses to those existential and geographical “peripheries” that act as a counterpoint to his being and acting. Inviting all to recover “the original freshness of the Gospel,” he urges the faithful to take up a new fervor and dynamism so that the love of Jesus can truly reach everyone. The Church desired by Pope Francis is an “outgoing” Church, with “open doors,” a “field hospital” that is not afraid of the “revolution of tenderness” or “the miracle of kindness.”

From family to environment, Pope Francis has made a number of statements which has resonated with those who needed leadership where the global political class failed. He has overseen the rise of populism and the challenge of a pandemic. Closer to home, Pope Francis has also embarked on a number of reforms within the Church’s administration and strengthened his fight against abuse within the Church.

Pope, Francis I waves from a balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica after he was elected by fellow cardinals following a two day conclave 13 March 2013. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first pope from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in over a thousand years. EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Speaking to Rome Reports, Pope Francis said “Regarding the eighth year of my pontificate, should I keep my fingers crossed? I don’t know if the pace of my travels will slow down. I only confess that on this trip to Iraq I got much more tired than in others…84 years of age don’t come without a cost. We will see what happens.”

Pope Francis has made 25 trips within Italy and 33 outside the Peninsula. But the figures of his Pontificate speak of more than 340 General Audiences, more than 450 Angelus/Regina Coeli, nearly 790 homilies at Casa Santa Marta and about 900 new Saints, including the 800 martyrs of Otranto. Pope Francis has also held 7 Consistories, creating 101 Cardinals, and called several Special Years, such as those dedicated to Consecrated Life (2015-2016), St. Joseph (2020-2021) and Family, Amoris Laetitia (2021-2022). There are also several “Days” instituted by Francis: the last, in chronological order, is the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated for the first time in July 2021, around the same time as the anniversary of Saints Joachim and Anne, the “grandparents” of Jesus.

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