Statement by Bishop McManus on Pope Francis’ fifth anniversary leading the Church

Statement by Bishop McManus on Pope Francis’ fifth anniversary leading the Church

WORCESTER- Sometimes it is hard to believe that five years have passed since the world was caught by surprise when the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as pope. It has been a time during which our Hoy Father has hardly refrained from challenging us Catholics to become missionary disciples, bringing God' s love and mercy to the world. He has also challenged the whole world to abandon destructive self-interests and to focus on the common good of society, which includes being good stewards of the environment. The question remains, of course, is the pope being heard? One only has to look at all the attention he is given by media, by world leaders and even by the average person on the street to find the answer. One cannot ignore the fact that the Holy Father has shaken up many people within the Church, urging us all to examine more closely what we believe and how we must be transformed by that belief in order to witness to our faith as ministers of mercy. Yet that is precisely his role as pastor of the universal Church. Catholics who felt estranged from their Church, agnostics who were deaf to the voices of faith leaders, even atheists who saw no place for God in their lives are paying attention to him and are drawn to much of his message. It is fortuitous that we celebrate this anniversary and reflect on the Holy Father' s influence on our own lives as we come to the end of the Season of Lent. May the Joy of the Gospel which Pope Francis has manifested to the Church and, indeed, to the world be a source of continuing conversion for each of us as baptized members of the Body of Christ as we approach the greatest act of Divine Love in the celebration of the Easter Triduum in our parishes. 

Bishop McManus