Our first Latin American and Jesuit pope!
The first Pope of the Americas Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Argentina. The 76-year-old Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires is a prominent figure throughout the continent, yet remains a simple pastor who is deeply loved by his diocese, throughout which he has travelled extensively on the underground and by bus during the 15 years of his episcopal ministry.
“My people are poor and I am one of them”, he has said more than once, explaining his decision to live in an apartment and cook his own supper. He has always advised his priests to show mercy and apostolic courage and to keep their doors open to everyone. The worst thing that could happen to the Church, he has said on various occasions, “is what de Lubac called spiritual worldliness”, which means, “being self-centred”. And when he speaks of social justice, he calls people first of all to pick up the Catechism, to rediscover the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. His project is simple: if you follow Christ, you understand that “trampling upon a person’s dignity is a serious sin”.
Despite his reserved character — his official biography consists of only a few lines, at least until his appointment as Archbishop of Buenos Aires — he became a reference point because of the strong stances he took during the dramatic financial crisis that overwhelmed the country in 2001.
He was born in Buenos Aires on 17 December 1936, the son of Italian immigrants. His father Mario was an accountant employed by the railways and his mother Regina Sivori was a committed wife dedicated to raising their five children. He graduated as a chemical technician and then chose the path of the priesthood, entering the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He completed his studies of the humanities in Chile and returned to Argentina in 1963 to graduate with a degree in philosophy from the Colegio de San José in San Miguel. From 1964 to 1965 he taught literature and psychology at Immaculate Conception College in Santa Fé and in 1966 he taught the same subject at the Colegio del Salvatore in Buenos Aires. From 1967-70 he studied theology and obtained a degree from the Colegio of San José.
On 13 December 1969 he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He continued his training between 1970 and 1971 at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, and on 22 April 1973 made his final profession with the Jesuits. Back in Argentina, he was novice master at Villa Barilari, San Miguel; professor at the Faculty of Theology of San Miguel; consultor to the Province of the Society of Jesus and also Rector of the Colegio Máximo of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology.
On 31 July 1973 he was appointed Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina, an office he held for six years. He then resumed his work in the university sector and from 1980 to 1986 served once again as Rector of the Colegio de San José, as well as parish priest, again in San Miguel. In March 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis; his superiors then sent him to the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires and next to the Jesuit Church in the city of Córdoba as spiritual director and confessor.
It was Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who wanted him as a close collaborator. So, on 20 May 1992 Pope John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires. On 27 May he received episcopal ordination from the Cardinal in the cathedral. He chose as his episcopal motto, miserando atque eligendo, and on his coat of arms inserted the ihs, the symbol of the Society of Jesus.
He gave his first interview as a bishop to a parish newsletter, Estrellita de Belém. He was immediately appointed Episcopal Vicar of the Flores district and on 21 December 1993 was also entrusted with the office of Vicar General of the Archdiocese. Thus it came as no surprise when, on 3 June 1997, he was raised to the dignity of Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Not even nine months had passed when, upon the death of Cardinal Quarracino, he succeeded him on 28 February 1998, as Archbishop, Primate of Argentina and Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who have no Ordinary of their own rite.
Three years later at the Consistory of 21 February 2001, John Paul ii created him Cardinal, assigning him the title of San Roberto Bellarmino. He asked the faithful not to come to Rome to celebrate his creation as Cardinal but rather to donate to the poor what they would have spent on the journey. As Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Argentina, he is the author of the books: Meditaciones para religiosos (1982), Reflexiones sobre la vida apostólica (1992) and Reflexiones de esperanza (1992).
In October 2001 he was appointed General Relator to the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Episcopal Ministry. This task was entrusted to him at the last minute to replace Cardinal Edward Michael Egan, Archbishop of New York, who was obliged to stay in his homeland because of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. At the Synod he placed particular emphasis on “the prophetic mission of the bishop”, his being a “prophet of justice”, his duty to “preach ceaselessly” the social doctrine of the Church and also “to express an authentic judgement in matters of faith and morals”.
All the while Cardinal Bergoglio was becoming ever more popular in Latin America. Despite this, he never relaxed his sober approach or his strict lifestyle, which some have defined as almost “ascetic”. In this spirit of poverty, he declined to be appointed as President of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference in 2002, but three years later he was elected and then, in 2008, reconfirmed for a further three-year mandate. Meanwhile in April 2005 he took part in the Conclave in which Pope Benedict XVI was elected.
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires — a diocese with more than three million inhabitants — he conceived of a missionary project based on communion and evangelization. He had four main goals: open and brotherly communities, an informed laity playing a lead role, evangelization efforts addressed to every inhabitant of the city, and assistance to the poor and the sick. He aimed to reevangelize Buenos Aires, “taking into account those who live there, its structure and its history”. He asked priests and lay people to work together. In September 2009 he launched the solidarity campaign for the bicentenary of the Independence of the country. Two hundred charitable agencies are to be set up by 2016. And on a continental scale, he expected much from the impact of the message of the Aparecida Conference in 2007, to the point of describing it as the “Evangelii Nuntiandi of Latin America”.
Until the beginning of the recent sede vacante, he was a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
He was elected Supreme Pontiff on 13 March 2013.
As our year comes to an end we return these moments of our life to God.
They are filled with our diaries,
with our thoughts,
with our questions
with our goodness
with our failures.
We thank God for
With our hearts and hands wide open
we stand in front of You
to receive a new Year:
Bless us, oh Lord, and all your gifts,
that we are about to receive.”
Sunday Gaudete (Rejoice), the third Sunday in Advent of 2012, our nation and many hearts all over the world grieved in memory of the little children and their educators who had died in one of our towns just two days earlier. I was visiting in Seattle. As we approached St. James Cathedral on Sunday morning we were greeted and embraced by all the bells that are able to ring in the Cathedral’s bell tower. All we wanted to do was stand there and listen, and listen some more…. What meditation and prayer had not been able to achieve, the sound of the chorus of bells did. Peace came over me and ever since, when the tears in my heart dwell, I recapture this moment of acoustic beauty and blessing, having been embraced and consoled by a very special sanctified and grace-filled space in the world.
Following 9/11, I remember a television commentator asking a religious leader, “What do parents tell their children when they come home from school today?”
I will never forget the Rabbi’s answer: First, shut off the TV. Second, gather at the table tonight and share a meal. Make space for questions. You don’t have to have an answer, simply give the gift of listening. Then if you are a family of faith, say a prayer… Pray for the victims. Pray for the ones that caused this terrible deed. Next light a candle. Tell your children that this horrible event was planned in the dark. Let your children and teenagers know they are the light. Keep gathering, listening, praying and lighting a candle. Each and every day as your sons and daughters leave the house, remind them they are the light (of Christ) in the world that helps the world and a community heal.
Rocky Mountain Synod Minister for Special Projects
THROUGHOUT TIME the tradition of gift giving has woven itself into the fabric of most cultures and civilizations. In ancient Rome , the Latin word ‘donare’ was coined to designate this custom of giving a gift.
The English language has welcomed this foreign word into the bosom of it’s vocabulary as ‘to donate’. To donate incognito is giving a gift in its purest form.
It means to give freely and without expectation of benefit or reward or public acknowledgement. Today it often seems that we have lost this integrity of truly giving a gift as a one way kindness, a pure gesture of the heart. We instead have settled for ‘exchanging’ gifts. We draw names in order to be more efficient about this business of kindness and generosity. It is still a friendly way to be, if we do not count and calculate and set limits up or down. But often it seems like just making a deal. We have settled for becoming traders.
Doesn’t ‘exchanging a gift’ limit the spirit of this unbelievable feast? Expectations and sometimes disappointments and other human limitations sneak in and somewhat pollute the noble custom of gift giving.
As I search for the gift that will complement your life, please do not measure my generosity or lack thereof. I promise that I will not measure your gift should you give me one.. My joy in having the privilege of choosing a gift for you, is your gift to me. The value of your gift to me lies in the precious fabric and moment of the resolve in your heart to complement my life.
Shall we recapture the true essence of ‘donare’? If we do this well, then perhaps some day soon, we as a nation and as individuals will give to others without expectation of return, no strings attached, for The art and joy of Giving has it’s own rewards such as: ‘PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN’
What’s in a logo? The word “logo” has its roots in the Greek verb lego, which means “to count, to tell, to say, or to speak.” In today’s fast-paced culture, we use logos as a way to speak with few words, to convey meaning that can be absorbed intuitively and at a glance. Our logo is no exception, we hope it conveys where we came from, where we stand, and where we are going, all at the same time.
“Creator Mundi” is Latin for “Creator of the World.” By using Latin we hold dearly our Catholic heritage, roots and traditions while reaching out ecumenically.
The silhouettes of two spires rise up in the middle of our logo. This image calls to mind the two majestic spires that adorn the Cathedral of Cologne, Germany, the city where Hildegard was born and raised during World War II. As a child, during a time of physical devastation, Hildegard was supported by her Catholic faith, finding beauty, solace and peace through the historic sacred art within the Cathedral. Art whose purpose was to open the mind into the splendor of the divine and to open the soul onto the numinous mystery of God – a mystery beyond words, time, and all contingent things.
Our distinctive sacred art is artistically beautiful, culturally authentic and biblically based, creating long lasting heirlooms for the family. We offer exceptional gifts suitable for every occasion, season, recipient, and sacramental celebration. We hope that you may find much in our collection of distinctive religious sacred art that stirs and awakens your mind and your soul.