The first Pope of the Americas Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Argentina. The 76-year-old Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires is a prominent figure throughout the continent, yet remains a simple pastor who is deeply loved by his diocese, throughout which he has travelled extensively on the underground and by bus during the 15 years of his episcopal ministry.
“My people are poor and I am one of them”, he has said more than once, explaining his decision to live in an apartment and cook his own supper. He has always advised his priests to show mercy and apostolic courage and to keep their doors open to everyone. The worst thing that could happen to the Church, he has said on various occasions, “is what de Lubac called spiritual worldliness”, which means, “being self-centred”. And when he speaks of social justice, he calls people first of all to pick up the Catechism, to rediscover the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. His project is simple: if you follow Christ, you understand that “trampling upon a person’s dignity is a serious sin”.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires Dec. 17, 1936. He earned a chemical technician’s diploma from his high school and entered the Jesuit novitiate in March 1958. As part of his Jesuit formation, he taught literature and psychology at Jesuit high schools in the mid-1960s, and he was ordained to the priesthood Dec. 13, 1969.
In 1973, he was appointed superior of the Jesuit province of Argentina. In 1992, Pope John Paul II named him an auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires. He was promoted to coadjutor archbishop in 1997 and became head of the archdiocese in 1998; St. John Paul II named him to the College of Cardinals three years later.
Election to the Papacy
Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio the successor of St. Peter, the 266th ‘Holy Father’ (Pope) of the Catholic Church.
Upon hearing of his appointment, Archbishop George said:
“You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the Earth to get him … but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.”
The Pope in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
“When Christ instituted the Twelve he constituted them in the form of a college or a permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them. Just as by the Lord’s institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another.” #880
“The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the ‘rock’ of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head. This pastoral office of the Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church’s very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the pope.” #881
True Human Fraternity
We pray for all those suffering from religious discrimination and persecution; may their own rights and dignity be recognized, which originate from being brothers and sisters in the human family.
Religious Sisters and Consecrated Women
We pray for religious sisters and consecrated women; thanking them for their mission and their courage; may they continue to find new responses to the challenges of our times.
A Christian Response to Bioethical Challenges
We pray for Christians facing new bioethical challenges; may they continue to defend the dignity of all human life with prayer and action.
Health Care Workers
We pray for health care workers who serve the sick and the elderly, especially in the poorest countries; may they be adequately supported by governments and local communities.
Faith-Filled Young People
We pray for all young people, called to live life to the fullest; may they see in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage that faith generates, and the dedication to service.
We pray for Christian families around the world; may they embody and experience unconditional love and advance in holiness in their daily lives
We pray for the elderly, who represent the roots and memory of a people; may their experience and wisdom help young people to look towards the future with hope and responsibility.
We pray for small and medium sized businesses; in the midst of economic and social crisis, may they find ways to continue operating, and serving their communities.
Abolition of the Death Penalty
We pray that the death penalty, which attacks the dignity of the human person, may be legally abolished in every country
A Church Open to Everyone
We pray for the Church; ever faithful to, and courageous in preaching the Gospel, may the Church be a community of solidarity, fraternity and welcome, always living in an atmosphere of synodality.
Children Who Suffer
We pray for children who are suffering, especially those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war; may they be guaranteed access to education and the opportunity to experience family affection.
Volunteer Not-for-Profit Organizations
We pray that volunteer non-profit organizations committed to human development find people dedicated to the common good and ceaselessly seek out new paths to international cooperation.
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network
Become part of the Pope’s global network of prayer, joining Catholics all over the world for the intentions of the Holy Father. One Church; One Voice; Universal.