Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why "Francis"

Pope Francis tells the press how he chose his regnal name:

Meanwhile, the Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin, Professor of Religion and History at California Lutheran University (and Interim Pastor at my home congregation) offers "this op-ed in Friday's Ventura County Star with an historian's perspective on the significance of a Pope named "Francis."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis

"That's the first Pope Francis," was my immediate reaction upon hearing the surprising news of a papal election this afternoon (Central Time). "This is a very significant name," I thought. Francis of Assisi is perhaps the most popular of the non-Apostolic saints, and his initial call was to "rebuild the church."

As a native Californian, whose first non-Indian settlers were Franciscans, and having worked for the Franciscans throughout my seminary years, it warms my heart to see "Francis" finally attached to the Papacy. I won't pretend to know why Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio chose this name, but clearly he is not afraid of something "new." Neither is the College of Cardinals, who have elected not simply a non-European or not simply a Latin American, but the first Pope from the New World.

And the first Jesuit — making "Francis" an even-more interesting name to me. In time we will find out what the new Pope intends by choosing this name. Regardless, following the papacies John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI, he has some significant shoes to fill.

Until then, here is an English translation of his first words to the Church assembled at St. Peter's Square, courtesy the Vatican news:
Brothers and sisters good evening.

You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.

First of all I would like to say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord will bless him and that our Lady will protect him.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit
of you womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.

And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.

[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.]

[Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi — To the City and to the World.]

May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose power and authority we have confidence, intercede on our behalf to the Lord.
Response: Amen.

Through the prayers and merits of the Blessed Mary ever-virgin, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of Blessed John the Baptist, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, may Almighty God have mercy on you, and with your sins forgiven, may Jesus Christ lead you into everlasting life.
Response: Amen.

May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant you indulgence, absolution, and remission of all your sins, time for a true and fruitful penance, an always repentant heart and amendment of life, the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit, and final perseverance in good works.
Response: Amen.

And may the blessing of Almighty God, + the Father, + the Son, and + the Holy Spirit, descend on you and remain with you always.
Response: Amen.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.

Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon... We will see one another soon.

Tomorrow I want to go to pray to the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.

Good night and sleep well!

By the way, he is not "Pope Francis the First." He will not be called that until, and unless, there is a second Pope Francis. May that be many years from now.