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Pope Francis

Pope Francis by Brenda Nippert

Artist Narrative:

Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on December 17, 1936. His father, Mario Jose was a railway worker and his mother Regina Maria Sivori was a housewife. Jorge grew up with two brothers and two sisters. When he was younger, Jorge wanted to be a chemist, but then God called him to become a priest. He joined the Jesuits and was ordained in 1969. In 1992, he was ordained a bishop and in 1998 he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. In 2001 he was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II. In all these positions, Jorge served his people with faith and love. Pope Francis was elected by the College of Cardinals on March 13, 2013 on the fifth ballot.

At age 76, he was installed on March 19, 2013, the Feast of Saint Joseph, as the new leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. He is the first Jesuit pope, and the first pope from the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere. Since his papacy began, Pope Francis has been full of surprises. His unprecedented openness and genuine willingness and even determination to practice what he preaches, have captured the hearts of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The Jubilee Year of Mercy he declared has people all over the world re-thinking their attitudes of mercy towards one another. Children are being taught about the works of mercy more than ever and people are turning out to lend a hand in record numbers.

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10 Mercy Quotes of Pope Francis:

I think we too are the people who, on the one hand, want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, at times, like to find a stick to beat others with, to condemn others. And Jesus has this message for us: mercy. I think — and I say it with humility — that this is the Lord's most powerful message: mercy.
— Homily on March 17, 2013

It is not easy to entrust oneself to God's mercy, because it is an abyss beyond our comprehension. But we must! ... "Oh, I am a great sinner!" "All the better! Go to Jesus: He likes you to tell him these things!" He forgets, He has a very special capacity for forgetting. He forgets, He kisses you, He embraces you and He simply says to you: "Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more" (Jn 8:11).
— Homily on March 17, 2013

Jesus' attitude is striking: we do not hear the words of scorn, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, which are an invitation to conversation. "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again." Ah! Brothers and Sisters, God's face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God's patience, the patience He has with each one of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, He understands us, He waits for us, He does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to Him with a contrite heart. "Great is God's mercy," says the Psalm.
— Angelus on March 17, 2013

In the past few days I have been reading a book by a Cardinal ... Cardinal Kasper said that feeling mercy, that this word changes everything. This is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world. A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful Father who is so patient. ... Let us remember the Prophet Isaiah who says that even if our sins were scarlet, God's love would make them white as snow. This mercy is beautiful.
— Angelus on March 17, 2013

God's mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14). ... Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.
— Easter Urbi et Orbi message on March 31, 2013

Together let us pray to the Virgin Mary that she helps us ... to walk in faith and charity, ever trusting in the Lord's mercy; He always awaits us, loves us, has pardoned us with His Blood and pardons us every time we go to Him to ask His forgiveness. Let us trust in His mercy!
— Regina Caeli on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013

In today's Gospel, the Apostle Thomas personally experiences this mercy of God. ... Thomas does not believe it when the other Apostles tell him: "We have seen the Lord." ... And how does Jesus react? With patience: Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief ... He does not close the door, He waits. And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith. "My Lord and my God!": with this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus' patience. He lets himself be enveloped by Divine Mercy; he sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ's hands and feet and in His open side, and he discovers trust.
— Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013

Let us ... remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him; and when he hits bottom he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly, says to him: "Peter, don't be afraid of your weakness, trust in Me." Peter understands, he feels the loving gaze of Jesus and he weeps. How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus — how much tenderness is there! Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!
— Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013

I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father. ... The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about [his wayward son], and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach. ... God is always waiting for us, He never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence and hope — always!
— Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013

God's patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to Him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. ... It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of His heart. Thomas understood this. Saint Bernard goes on to ask: But what can I count on? My own merits? No, "My merit is God's mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as He is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits." This is important: the courage to trust in Jesus' mercy, to trust in His patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of His love.
— Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013