Change


As reported by The Wall Street Journal within minutes of the announcement:

“Taking the name Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected as head of the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday [March 13th, 2013], putting the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics under direction of a pope from the New World for the first time in Christianity’s 2,000 year history.”

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first Jesuit and first non European to be named Pope. His reputation is for humility and simplicity. He is said to be a tireless advocate of the poor and less fortunate. A week ago, as Cardinal, he lived in humble quarters, often cooked for himself, and refused the limousine for taxis and public transportation. He refused the papal limousine return him to the common quarters and chose to ride a shuttle with the cardinals following his election to Pope.

Jesuits are order of priests known around the world as educators, spiritual directors, and social justice advocates. Pope Francis is a dedicated Jesuit and like Ignatius, he has a reputation for using his mind to solve a problem but his heart to make a decision. Like Francis of Assisi, he operates within the world of an ordained clergy while not being drowned in self-serving clerical rank and privilege. He has been known to have a special place in his heart and his ministry for the poor, for the disenfranchised, for those living on the fringes and facing injustice.

He has chosen the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi.  The name symbolizes poverty, humility, simplicity and rebuilding the Catholic Church. The new pope seems to be sending a signal that this will not be business as usual.

Where leadership is powerfully influenced through emulation, what a remarkable role model Pope Francis makes not only for the Church leadership but for all Catholics. What a strong and unique choice our Cardinals have made to lead our Church. What a departure from the norm.

As the Church enters a new era of leadership, let us be open to change and let us think of the choices we make in our own lives.  When given a choice do we stay the course? Do we follow our hearts or heads? Do we have the strength and courage of our convictions? Are we a living witness to our faith each and every day?

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