Our New Pope

Thoughts from CAFOD and Martin Brown

It’s been over a day now, the white smoke has probably cleared and the initial media buzz has declined somewhat. We have a new Pope, Pope Francis (the First). The rumours on the twittersphere (follow us @CafodAB or me @MartinCAFOD) have it that he’s taken the name after St Francis of Assisi, one of my personal favourite Saints of our Church. I think St Francis of Assisi is soon to be featured in our list of Saints Prayer Cards ( http://www.cafod.org.uk/Media/Files/Resources/Secondary/resource-pages/Saints-prayer-cards ) which is surely one of the highest honours which can be bestowed!

There have been various reactions to the news, indeed our very own Director Chris Bain was interviewed on BBC news after the news was announced. For his thoughtful reflections do see his article ‘God of Surprises’ on the CAFOD blog http://blog.cafod.org.uk/2013/03/14/the-god-of-surprises/

Tom O’Connor, Director of our Communities and Supporters Division joyfully writes of a new era in the life of our Church at http://blog.cafod.org.uk/2013/03/14/catholics-across-the-world-woke-to-a-new-era-in-the-life-of-our-church/

As for me, I would echo the above thoughts and agree with Chris that ‘this choice of Pope puts service to the poor and tackling injustice at the forefront of the Church’s mission in the world. Pope Francis brings with him great hope.’

St Francis of Assisi was one of the first saints that inspired me. Various aspects of his work, style, mission and personality have inspired me during my life.

  • He was radical in the way he listened to the call of the Gospel and also listened to God’s instruction to ‘Rebuild My Church’.
  • His simplicity shone out like a bright light.
  • His compassion for and solidarity with the poor are part of the reason I now work for CAFOD.
  • The way he reflects the love of God have moved me and most of all he has challenged me, challenged me to live my life in a way that reflects God’s love and points towards the Kingdom of God as a way of doing things differently, living by different values and priorities and always remembering those who are less fortunate than I.

If the rumours on the Twittersphere are accurate and they seem to be so, Pope Francis has taken the name after St Francis of Assisi. I am delighted by this and hope that, in the spirit of St Francis, Pope Francis will also challenge me, and the rest of us, to shine as lights within the world, to point towards the Kingdom of God and continue to live in solidarity with those who live in poverty.

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