Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis

What's in a name? I'm hoping that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's choice of Francis I for his new identity as pontiff signifies that some reform is going to blow through the Church, that there will be good stiff breeze of fresh air to clear the stuffiness of an institution that is growing a bit musty.

It must be significant that his man did not pick the name of any previous popes. Is he trying to tell the world that he hopes to bring something new to Catholicism? Will he chart a new course for the bark of Peter? A course that is in keeping with the charism of Saint Francis, who saw a Church in need of change, and went about changing lives?

From the balcony above Saint Peter's square, Pope Francis said that the Church begins a journey today, "bishop together with people", and expressed the hope that this journey will be "fruitful for evangelization". Then Pope Francis knelt before the crowd and asked  that the "prayer of the people bring down the blessings of God".  And,  for a moment, a crowd of 100,000 individuals were united in prayer. After the people had prayed for him, Francis gave the papal blessing to those assembled, and by extension to the whole world watching the events live on television. 

The people and the Bishop of Rome were engaged in a dialectic of prayer -a giving and receiving of blessings - a mutuality in Christ. May this mutuality inform the journey ahead, and be a source of blessings for the Church and the world. 

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