Election of Pope Francis

We have recently received the gaudium magnum (“great joy”) of the election of Pope Francis. He has taken the name of il poverello (“the little poor man”) Saint Francis of Assisi. His Mass of Installation was celebrated on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, March 19. Let me share with you a few paragraphs from his homily during that Mass, in which he speaks of Saint Joseph as the protector of Jesus and Mary, and the protector of the Universal Church, and challenges us to emulate Saint Joseph in this role.

“How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelveyear- old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.

“… Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly; but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!

“The vocation of being a “protector,” however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children; and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!” Now we owe Pope Francis our prayers and support as he takes up the important ministry which has been entrusted to him.

Now we owe Pope Francis our prayers and support as he takes up the important ministry.

May God bless you and your families.
-- Fr. Michael Gorman, Chaplain