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Saturday, 16 March 2013
Why the new pope chose the name Francis?
by Randy Tudy
Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
The new pope was the first one to use the title Francis. It was some sort of a tradition where popes chose a Regnal name from a predecessor. For example, Pope Benedict XVI is obviously the 16th pope to use this name. There were names which have been used several times in the history of the Church- John (23 times), Gregory (16 times), Clement (14 times), Innocent (13 times), Leo (13 times), Pius (12 times), Boniface and Stephen (13 times each) and so on.
But what's the importance of the name Francis to our new pope? Well, as of this time, there's no report from the pope himself why he chose Francis.
Photo: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
There are two saints named Francis. One is Francis of Asisi and Francis Xavier.
St. Francis of Asisi is known for his simple lifestyle and is a model of living in the vows of poverty. He is also popular as a great lover of animals and the environment. On the other hand, Francis Xavier is a very successful Jesuit missionary. He is considered as the co-founder of the Jesuit Society of Jesus or Jesuits. He was a student of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the main founder of the Jesuits. I happened to visit a church in Rome where his relic (hand) is preserved until today.
AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko,
Looking at these simple data, the name Francis is fitted for the new pope. In many articles about him, he was portrayed to be a very simple man who lived not in the bishop's palace and he even cooked for himself.
Pope Francis is also the first Jesuit pope. So St. Francis of Asisi and St. Francis Xavier are very close to his heart. Their life and ministry also resemble to the witnessing of Pope Francis.
Let us pray and support our new pope, who like St. Francis of Asisi and St. Francis Xavier, is given a huge task of making the Kingdom of God more visible in this world.
Let us also implore the intercession of these saints to help our newly elected pope.