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Join Us for Mass to Celebrate Pope Francis’s First Year

Thursday, March 13, 2014

“Pope Francis, His life—a Guide for Lent”

A year has passed since Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected pope. Since then, the Holy Father—who took the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi—has inspired Catholics and people of all faith traditions around the globe.

The Office of Campus Ministry invites the entire St. John’s University community to celebrate this historic event—and the ministry of Pope Francis—by joining us for either of two commemorative Masses at 8 a.m. or 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in St. Thomas More Church on the Queens campus.

Pope Francis has captured the hearts, minds, and souls of people around the world. Like his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, he holds to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, but he is willing to listen, discern, and see like St. Francis—to  rebuild the Church, repair relationships, and gather more people toward the sacraments through which we personally encounter Christ.

As a member and former provincial of the Society of Jesus,  the Holy Father naturally looks to see God in all things. His keen attention to people, especially to the poor and vulnerable, guides him to challenge us—the  Church, the People of God—to see Jesus within the poor and to do what we can within our own lives to strengthen our relationship with and service to those in need. This challenge mirrors St. Vincent De Paul, who preached, "In the poor, you serve Christ."

Nancy Gibbs, in Time magazine, says this of Pope Francis: “In a very short time, a vast, global, ecumenical audience has shown a hunger to follow him. He is pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs, and balancing judgment with mercy.”

Our Lenten theme for the SJU community is “Come, Listen, Journey.”  Pope Francis’ example of living his faith in his first year as pope can be our model and guide in our own Lenten journeys. Joan McKamey, in her March 2014 Catholic Update article (Franciscan, outlines the seven lessons we learn from Pope Francis for how we can “walk the talk of our faith.”

  1. “Listen,” pray, and ask yourself daily, “what have I done for Christ?  What am I doing for Christ?  What should I do for Christ?”
  2.  “Simplify your lifestyle”—allow Christ to be at the center and live responsibly in relationship with each other.
  3. “Refocus”—think more broadly.  Pope Francis says, “the most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.” He calls us to show “mercy above all.”
  4. “Engage”—which starts with a humble, genuine smile. Pope Francis encourages us “to look at persons one at a time and to enter into personal contact with whomever I have in front of me.”
  5.  “Embrace”—the Holy Father’s  tweets speak for themselves.
  6. “Challenge”—Pope  Francis shows us it is important to speak out against injustices. He states, “It is the Church’s responsibility to work to eliminate the structural causes of poverty. We must also pray for peace for our world.”
  7. “Rejoice”—live the joy of the Gospel, strive to live your faith and to find God in all things.