Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is already well known for his simplicity: for being a pastor among the people, a cardinal who takes the bus and cooks for himself, for example, and a great defender of the poor. Now as Pope, he has begun with simplicity.
“To pray the simplest prayers with the people is the greatest sign of simplicity,” observed his fellow Jesuit, Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, in reference to Pope Francis’ leading the people in the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be during his first appearance on St. Peter’s central balcony.
Fr. Lombardi acknowledged his surprise at the election, and declared this is a “moment of joy for the Church.” He went on to speak of Cardinal Bergoglio-Pope Francis’ style of “evangelical testimony” and stressed his humility, evidenced in how he bowed down before the people, asking them to pray for God’s blessing upon him, prior to giving his first apostolic blessing as the Successor of St. Peter.
Fr. Lombardi also noted his pastoral style, immediately applied to his new diocese, the Diocese of Rome.
The Vatican spokesman said it was an act of courage for the cardinals to “go across the ocean and choose a Pope.” Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas.
In fact, he was immediately acclaimed as a pope of many firsts: the first Jesuit pope, the first pope of the Americas, and also the first to choose the name Francis.
Father Thomas Rosica of Canada’s Salt and Light Television, who has been assisting Father Lombardi during the time of the interregnum, spoke of his choosing the name Francis as a sign of humility.
He recounted that Cardinal Bergoglio had asked him for prayers prior to the conclave, explaining that he was a little nervous.
Fr. Lombardi went on to speak about the Pope’s vocation as a Jesuit. The spokesman referred to their order as one “known for serving.”
The role of the Successor of St. Peter is also one of service, he said, reflecting that Cardinal Bergoglio has probably accepted his new mission in that vein, with the simplicity of a servant.
“St. ignatius has formed us to have a view of the world, attentive to answer to necessities in the world we live in,” Father Lombardi said, highlighting especially faith and justice as “the greatest gift for our fellow man.”
“I see it [the papacy] as a call to service from the part of [Cardinal] Bergoglio, that results from a strong call and not in the search of the power of authority,” Father Lombardi added. “In this sense I am absolutely convinced we have a Pope who wants to serve.”