We are living in what is to be one of the most historic moments in papal history. First, we witnessed the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, leaving many of us wondering if the nature of the papacy will be forever changed. If any questions lingered in our hearts and minds, perhaps the announcement of Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis will bring them to rest. The selection and the name indicate that indeed we are about to experience a new era of the papacy.
Born in Buenos Aires Argentina in 1936, Pope Francis studied chemistry before entering the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, in 1958. His priestly formation included studies in theology and philosophy as well as literature and psychology. Ordained to the priesthood in 1969, Pope Francis served as a provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina, and the rector of the seminary in San Miguel before being consecrated as the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires in 1992. In 1998, he was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires by Blessed Pope John Paul II and was elevated to the college of cardinals in 2001.
Given his many years in service to the Church as pastor and his selection of the name of Francis (in honour of the great St. Francis), Pope Francis will likely heed the call that St. Francis received from God “to rebuild my Church.”