Today on the feast of Saint Joseph – patron saint of the universal Church – I, along with other cardinals, bishops and priests, had the honour to concelebrate Mass with Pope Francis as he began his Petrine Ministry as the Bishop of Rome. The Mass included the imposition of the Pallium and the bestowal of the Fisherman’s Ring.
At today’s special Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, Rome, the Holy Father asked us to “protect with love all that God has given us!” Let us take his important request to heart. Pope Francis has advised us how best we can do this:
Since his election last Wednesday 13 March, Pope Francis has reminded us that Jesus Christ is everything. The Holy Father has said that we should all seek to know Jesus Christ and to live our lives in the presence of Jesus. It is all about walking the Journey of Life in the presence of Jesus.
Pope Francis has often worried in the past about the danger of what he calls spiritual worldliness. By that he means that we can be so obsessed about ourselves that we have no interest or no time for anyone else. We can be so sure that we are alright that we do not need Jesus and that we can pass judgement on everyone else.
The motto Pope Francis has chosen as pope is the same motto he used as archbishop and it bears a teaching message for all of us. In his motto Pope Francis shows his love for the mercy of God – it says that we are saved by the mercy and choice of God. We are not, and never can be, saved by our efforts alone. We would love to think that we can save ourselves and so we would not have to depend on and need God. But the fact is that we all need God’s mercy.
We are here on this earth to walk the Journey of Life in the presence of God. We are invited to get to know Jesus and be his friend and to sing his praises. We are called to realise that we have all sinned and need God’s mercy which is available to each and every one of us.
I offer Pope Francis every blessing in his new role as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. I ask the faithful of Ireland to join with me and to pray every success for the Holy Father as he turns to face the many challenges of his ministry.