Meeting Pope Francis

Published: Sunday, 16 September 2018

Rome, September 14. Each Capuchin General Chapter has two appointments of fundamental importance: the first, in Assisi, at the tomb of the Seraphic Father St. Francis, which is a sort of return to the sources of our own story, and which in this Chapter was made on September 8. The second is to meet the Pope, of whom Francis himself had requested approval of his form of life. Thus, this General Chapter visited Pope Francis today, September 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In the morning the friar capitulars as well as some others from the Curia made their way to the Bronze Doors at the Vatican. The sun illuminated St. Peter’s Square, which shone in all its beauty; this was our first greeting by this blessed place, the rock on which Jesus set Peter to guide his Church. At about 11 a.m. we began to move through the entrance and by the Swiss Guard. Passing through the check of the metal detector, the dense group of friars began to ascend the first set of stairs in order to reach the Court of San Damaso, and from there, after some more steps, the entrance to the beautiful Sala Clementina. Each friar took his place and then began the long wait for Pope Francis. The wait allowed everyone to admire the renaissance frescoes of the vault, commissioned in 1595 by Pope Clement VIII at the conclusion of the work begun by his Franciscan predecessor Sixtus V. Together with the portrayal of the martyrdom of Pope St. Clement I, many allegorical figures of the virtues recommend themselves to visitors who take the time to see them. A few minutes late, Pope Francis made his entrance. Right away, after a thunderous applause, the outgoing General Minister, Br. Mauro Jöhri, presented his successor, Br. Roberto Genuin. Br. Roberto gave the Holy Father a brief and precise greeting, to which the Pope replied with his own unscripted remarks. He recalled that the Capuchin friars are always friars of the people, close to them even in the difficulties of daily life, always approaching others with simplicity. The friars must always be close to the poor and the suffering like Father Cristoforo in the novel The Betrothed, and like the Capuchins the Pope met recently in Dublin, Ireland. They must be apostles of the confessional, of reconciliation. They must be men of prayer, of a prayer that is simple and joyous, as well as being peacemakers in the midst of the people. Pope Francis then gave his apostolic blessing and greeted the friars one by one. After the audience, the friars returned to the Collegio with great joy in their hearts.

Audience with Pope Francis, 2018.09.14. 
Greeting of Pope Francis, 2018.09.14.

• Audience with Pope Francis, 2018.09.14.