Denver, Colo., Oct 2, 2013 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- A new book on the Holy Father gathers insights and recollections from 20 people across Argentina who knew Pope Francis as a seminarian, priest and bishop in Buenos Aires.
"A Pope who is constantly surprising people with his gestures, words and teachings comes from somewhere, has a background," said editor and translator Alejandro Bermudez, "and that's what the book tries to explore."
"Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend" (Ignatius Press) records personal recollections from twenty individuals who personally knew the man who became Pope Francis.
Shortly after Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope in March, Bermudez - who heads both Catholic News Agency and ACI Prensa, the largest Catholic news provider in Spanish - traveled to Argentina to conduct interviews with those who had personally known the Holy Father.
The result, Bermudez explained, is "the mosaic of a complex, rich personality that can help us understand the concerns, the experiences, the convictions and spiritual motivations behind the decisions and style of Pope Francis."
The book offers memories and reflections through the eyes of 10 Jesuits who lived close to Pope Francis in Argentina - as peers, professors or those receiving spiritual direction from then-Fr. Bergoglio.
These accounts are enriched by the testimony of 10 other individuals who knew the Pope, Bermudez explained, "from a prestigious politician to a lowly beggar, from a rabbi to a priest working in the slums."
Fr. Ángel Rossi, S.J., who was a student of then-Fr. Bergoglio and is now superior of the Residencia Jesuita community in Córdoba, described the Pope as "a very skillful man."
"I say that he is a mix between a desert saint and a brilliant manager, a combination that normally isn't very common," the priest explained in the book.
"He is a man with great intelligence, and also with academic and scholarly intelligence, but above all I think of that special perception which previously the monks used to call the 'cardiognosis': the gift of knowing peoples' hearts."
A 62-year-old beggar in Buenos Aires said that Fr. Bergoglio "cared for me, he cared for us, he knew all of us."
He recounted how Pope Francis, as a priest and later as a bishop and cardinal, would ask for prayers.
"I always liked to greet him because he always gave a smile. He never greeted seriously or in a bad mood," the beggar recalled, adding, "We miss him here."
"He was a person who went from giving spiritual assistance to someone, to speaking on the phone with a bishop or some important person, to washing clothes in the laundry or to the kitchen or where they raised the hogs," said Fr. Fernando Cervera, S.J., whose spiritual advisor was then-Fr. Bergoglio.
He added that the Pope had been very involved with the students in the classroom as well.
José María Poirier, director of the Catholic magazine "Criterio," said that as a cardinal, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the publication's 80th anniversary and told the staff members to "be on the cultural frontiers, do not expect the intellectuals to come to you; you be the ones going out to meet the non-religious intellectuals, the non-Catholics and non-Christians."
The great "paradox" of Pope Francis, said Poirier, was that despite his tremendous work with the poor of Buenos Aires and his contributions to interreligious dialogue, he consciously chose to keep such a low profile that "he was almost invisible in the eyes of the city."
"Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend" is now available in English from Ignatius Press.
Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Presiding over a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis led the beginning of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, at the Vatican. Drawing tens of thousands of the faithful, many were present in the Square since the afternoon for a ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
The director of the Holy See press office has issued a statement in response to Vatican official Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa's declaration in a recent interview that he is homosexual and has a boyfriend. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Msgr. Charamsa, 43, granted a ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
Each of us has a Guardian Angel who, acting on behalf of God, advises us and protects us from evil, if we only listen to him, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass on Friday. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "May we ask the Lord for the grace of this ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
What makes you angry? Maybe you don't like the way your boss talks to you at work or your spouse spends too much money. What do you do when you feel anger coming on? Who do you turn to? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When we get angry we can say or do things we ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Megachurch Pastor Kyle Idleman claims that to live life, "everyone simply needs to get over themselves" to truly "experience abundant life with Jesus," a theory he promotes in his new book The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins. LOS ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
Pope Francis approved, earlier this year, the decrees necessary for Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin - known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux - to be declared saints. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - The two blesseds will be the first couple ever to ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
Calling on all Christian men to take a stand in the Church's spiritual battle, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix asked men in his diocese to courageously pursue their vocations as friends, fathers, and spouses. Phoenix, Ariz. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Men, do not ... continue reading
By Michelle Bauman, CNA/EWTN News
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia hosted Pope Francis in his highly anticipated first visit to the United States. As the dust settled after the departure of nearly one million participants in the final Mass for the World Meeting of Families, CNA had the ... continue reading
By Tony Magliano
From celebrating Masses at Havana's Revolution Square in Cuba, Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, to addressing the U.S. Congress and the United Nations - and with lots packed in between - the 78-year-old Pope Francis tirelessly proclaimed the Gospel ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
With World Youth Day coming up next year, Pope Francis has a question for young people: "Do you realize how precious you are to God, who has given you everything out of love?" Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "You, dear young man, dear young woman, have you ever ... continue reading