In section: Prayers and Reflections

Cardinal Etchegaray’s Tribute to Pope Francis

I hear that you wish to be named “Francis”…
Francis of Assisi and Buenos Aires… as Bishop of Rome.

But why take this name, the first Pope to bear a name so universal and so fascinating?
Why do the crowds of people who see you on the balcony blessing them, recognize you as the successor of Peter 
and already love you as a father?

Beside me, I overhear a cry:
"He is so humble that I want to embrace him!”
I see you silent, motionless.
I think of “Ecce Homo”, the Man of the Passion, and I would like to wipe away your tears because some days you will not be able to hide them.

But I myself wept for joy tonight when you invited us all to pray in the diversity of
our circumstances and  beliefs.

Lead us often in your footsteps, to Saint Francis and Saint Claire, so that through conversion we may treasure the first of the Beatitudes “Blessed are the Poor”.

We should not be too concerned with nuances before having grasped the mind of Christ with its peaceful abundance and its intense starkness.

As our guide, and even more as our companion on the journey, lead us to be ever more faithful to
Christ’s Church.

Faced with the daunting challenges of this world, of the Church, and from East to West in a nuclear age, it can appear ridiculous, much like a little David with a sling containing stones polished by the
outpouring of the Spirit.

Even so, the Church alone dares to say to us, as did the Apostle Peter to the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk!” (Acts 3, 6)

Pope Francis, help us to believe that Christ always goes before us along the paths to Resurrection.

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray
Saturday, March 23, 2013

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