Cardinal Oswald Gracias recalls the first anniversary of Pope Francis
He is the first pope from Latin America, the first Jesuit to lead the Catholic Church and the first pontiff carrying the regnal name Francis, which comes with many expectations. Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose it to honor Saint Francis of Assisi, who devoted his life to caring for the poor. The Argentine has been leading the Catholic Church as Pope Francis for one year now, ever since the fateful night of March 13, 2013, when white smoke rose over the Vatican.
Francis inhabits the office with a very particular style. He's doing things his own way and has a very specific understanding of the papal position. That became clear right away during his first speech on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, when Francis described himself as "Bishop of Rome." That is the first among many official titles the pope traditionally holds, but it's rarely been emphasized like this by popes in modern times. To other churches, no matter the denomination, this is an important sign of humbleness.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias
Recalling Pope on the first anniversary of his election on Thursday, March 13, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay regarding him as a gift to the Church. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the former President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), said that the past one year has been a joyful journey, full of solidarity and fraternity both for the universal Churches as well as the Churches in India.
"Since his election, Francis has strengthened the mission of the Churches in India, focusing on 'an option for the poor' as a concrete way of proclaiming God's love in today's world," the cardinal said. "Let us begin this journey together," the prelate recalled the Pope’s first words after his election that emphasized the spirit of friendship, love, trust, faith and strong brotherhood. The cardinal said we celebrate this journey “with prayer and works of compassion and charity, and we rededicate our Mission to serve the peoples of our country and work for nation building".
The Indian prelate pointed out that Pope Francis has strengthened the Mission of the Churches in India, advocating "an option for the poor" as an effective way of proclaiming God's love in today's world and attract others to the Gospel message. Pope Francis inducted Archbishop of Bombay into his special 8-member Council of Cardinals to advise him in the reform and governance of the Roman Curia and the worldwide Catholic Churches.
Cardinal Gracias along with four bishops from his archdiocese will lead a Eucharistic adoration and thanksgiving prayers for the Pope on March 18th, the eve of the feast of St. Joseph, when a year ago Pope Francis officially launched his pontificate with a solemn Mass in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. On March 19th, Cardinal Gracias will celebrate Mass in Mumbai’s Cathedral of the Holy Name, to thank God for the Pope and pray for His continued graces and blessings on His Vicar on earth.
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