As Pope Francis celebrates the 10th anniversary of his pontificate, our Editorial Director and the Director of the Osservatore Romano explain Vatican Media’s coverage of this historic milestone, and offer their best wishes to the Holy Father.
By Andrea Tornielli and Andrea Monda
On the evening of 13 March 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio appeared, for the first time, at the central loggia of St Peter’s Basilica dressed in white.
Along with the affectionate homage to his predecessor emeritus, his initial greeting already contained several salient features of his pontificate: the emphasis on being the Bishop of Rome of the Church “that presides in charity over all the Churches”; the centrality of God’s faithful people from whom the new Pastor asked for a blessing before he gave one himself; and the prayer for “a great fraternity” in a world torn apart by injustice, violence and wars.
In the days that followed, the Pope explained the meaning of the name he had chosen, linking it to the dream of “a Church that is poor and for the poor”.
Francis of Assisi, he said, is “the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation”.
A few months later, in November of that same year, the Pope published his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, which offered the true road map of his pontificate. With it, he asked Christians to bear witness to the joy of the Gospel with their lives, as well as to bring everywhere, and in particular to those who suffer most, the closeness and tenderness of our God who forgives, welcomes and embraces.
Ten years later, we at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication wondered how best we could celebrate this anniversary across our various media outlets. Gradually, an idea that emerged which was not so much of us talking about Pope Francis, but of giving space to what his testimony and his Magisterium have provoked or are helping to promote.
We therefore chose to give the floor to various testimonies of people from the most diverse situations in the world: to those who every day recognise the face of the Nazarene in those who suffer, are rejected, or are distant; and, to those who tell wonderful stories that document the power of love and the miracle of forgiveness in contexts of hatred or indifference.
Each of them describes the reverberation of one of the main themes of Pope Francis’ pontificate, composing a mosaic that rekindles hope.
This hope is possible, despite the many gloomy signs we are unfortunately witnessing, the first of which is the ever more concrete risk for humanity to self-destruct.
Giving voice to the testimonies seemed to us the most appropriate way to tune in to the people
of God who love Francis and continue to pray for him.
These people follow the Pope, and they turn, along with him, to Jesus with the words of Peter, recognising the source of hope and salvation: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”.
Ad multos annos, Holy Father!