About Pope Francis

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013, becoming Pope Francis. He is the first pope from the Americas.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis took his papal title after St. Francis of Assisi of Italy. Prior to his election as pope, Bergoglio served as archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013, as cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church of Argentina from 2001 to 2013, and as president of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 2005 to 2011. Pope Francis made his first international visit in July 2013, traveling to Brazil. In December 2013, Pope Francis was named Person of the Year by Time magazine. To date, his tenure has been characterized by humility and outspoken support of the world's poor and marginalized people, and he has been involved actively in areas of political diplomacy and environmental advocacy.

The tone of his papacy, which has become admired globally, was established long before his elevation to the church's highest position; however, when he was named to that post, the media quickly picked up on stories of his humility. News circulated about the fact that he returned to the boarding house where he had been staying to pay his bill personally, rather than send an assistant, and that he would choose to live in a simple two-room apartment rather than the luxurious papal accommodations in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. In choosing to live more simply, Pope Francis broke a tradition that had been upheld by popes for more than a century.

Addressing a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter's Square, in the Vatican City in Rome, Italy, after his selection by the conclave, Pope Francis stated, "As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome. It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from faraway. . . . Here I am. I would like to thank you for your embrace."

Pope Francis has offered the world his faithful and knowledgeable perspective on very important global issues. In May 2015, he promulgated the encyclical Laudato Si, which called upon all Catholics and indeed all of humanity to have a greater respect for the earth, to turn the tide of global warming, and see the earth and its poorest people as those most dangerously affected by the climate and ecological changes humans make by their actions.
In December 2015, Pope Francis opened the Vatican’s Jubilee Door to usher in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, with the motto "Merciful Like the Father." He invited the entire world to seek and show mercy so as to bring about greater peace. The Year of Mercy has inspired hope of reconciliation between people and nations and asks Catholics to act mercifully rather than judge quickly.
Most recently, as an assessment and culmination of the work done at the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis published an apostolic exhortation title Amoris Laetitia. This document addressed family and marital issues such as access to communion for those who are divorced, gender and sexual identity, abortion, contraception, and pastoral care from Church leaders in support of the family unit.

The Jubilee Year of Mercy

Pope Francis has declared an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. This Holy Year of Mercy began December 8, 2015 on the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. It will close November 20, 2016, at the Feast of Christ the King.

Photo Credit:  Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities