To commemorate the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election on March 13th, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has given an interview with Vatican Radio in which he reflects on this year and his “great impulse to a journeying Church”.
“The most important aspect of this first year,” he said, “is without doubt the great attention, the great attraction of the people – I say the people, meaning not only practising Catholics, but everyone in this world – the great attention for this Pope, for his message.
“It is something that I think and hope is very deeply rooted in the heart of the people, who have felt touched by a word of love, attention, mercy, closeness, proximity, in which through the man, the Pope, the love of God arrives,” he said.
“The Church truly seems to be a journeying people,” Fr. Lombardi added. “This is her most characteristic aspect: a sense of great dynamism. The Pope has given a great impulse and journeys with a Church that seeks God’s will, that seeks her mission in today’s world for the good of all, truly going out to the peripheries, to the ends of the world.”
The Vatican spokesman added that there are “manifestations of attention, therefore, that come from places, from atypical organs of the press”, that “mean that his message reaches its target”.
These 365 days of Francis’ papacy have been characterised as a “time of mercy”, as described by the Pope himself. His personal secretary Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, has said the Pope “has not wasted a minute! He works tirelessly and, when he feels the need to take a moment’s pause, he closes his eyes and does nothing: he simply sits and prays the Rosary”.