Francis: A Pope of the People, For the People - Star Exponent: Columnists

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Francis: A Pope of the People, For the People

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Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 5:41 am, Tue Mar 26, 2013.

Saint Francis was my confirmation name. I’ve always had a liking of that particular saint. I chose him as a representative of my life because I love the humility he has shown throughout his. Everyone knows St Francis as an animal-loving, kind-hearted, simple sort of man. These are the sort of characteristics I try to portray in my day-to-day living.

Never for an instance did I expect to hear the name “Francis” announced on the television as I and my grandmother watched the new pope emerge and stand upon the balcony over thousands of cheering people. All I can remember feeling excitement and joy inside. Not only did we have a new pope, but he and I had a lot more in common than I was expecting!

If I were to be given the opportunity to talk with Pope Francis privately, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to get all of the words out or they would all tumble out at once. I’d ask him what the experience was like; how he felt when he heard his name spoken knowing that he was the new pope. What guided him to the name Francis?

I’ve heard stories of his life as a cardinal, and I can already tell that he fits the name. I love the idea that he rode the bus instead of taking a limousine so that people could talk with him if they wished. The fact that he gave his security guards “a headache” by walking up to crowds after being elected pope tickles me. I find joy in that kind of priority (in terms of who has the real “say-so”) ; that kind of love for his people.

I’d love to hear how the pope feels toward his namesake saint; this dear Saint Francis we both share close to our hearts. I would want to know how he came to know Francis throughout his life. I came to know Francis through a storybook when I was very young. I am curious about whether St.Francis found Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the same way, or if he took some other pathway into our new pope’s heart.

I’d like to know what it was like for the Pope in those moments of silence when he prayed with the people the night of his installation.

I still remember hearing the constant roar of the crowd right up until the moment he asked them to pray for him, and then the silence following.  Even thousands of miles away, I felt that dedication as every soul went quiet for a moment. The greatest things happen in the quiet of our hearts.  I think this is where our pope will find his strength. It’s where I go to pray to God. It’s where I go to pray to Saint Francis. It’s where I will go to pray for Pope Francis in his new life as the leader of the Catholic Church.

Lastly, I remember the first time he smiled. It was an adorable smile, and simply happy, not proud, not forced, not there for anyone in particular but just sweet, kind, and wonderful.

If the occasion ever arises that I get to meet our dear Pope Francis, I would probably ask all of these things and more. I would just want to talk with this man who seems so simple at heart. I’d rejoice to meet someone so fantastically gifted; someone already changing the traditions around being pope. Most of all, I’d smile, and I’d hope he’d smile in return because I believe this man has so much in common with the people of the world.

Madison County resident, Vesta Decowski, is a second year Germanna Conmmunity College student who is a board member and mentoring intern with the SIPPP! program (Students of the Integrated Peace Performance Project.), a youth non-violence, empowerment and leadership program. Contact:  or 917-572-0702.

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