The former Cardinal Archbishop of  Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Born in Argentina, Pope Francis is the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the first Jesuit

This evening, at the Mass to mark the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Chiara Lubich’s departure for Heaven (which will be celebrated at 6.45pm at the Sanctuary Maria Theotokos), we will also thank the Holy Spirit for the gift that the Pope is both for the whole Church and humanity.

The President of the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce, offered her congratulations and said: “At this moment we need someone who is capable of touching people’s hearts, and to make everyone feel the joy of having a father and a brother who loves us”.

The news of the white smoke and therefore the election of the 266th Pope in the Church’s history, was welcomed by the little town with a long applause by the inhabitants, many of whom were present at Maria Theothokos (Mary Mother of God) for the evening Mass.

Disbelief, great joy and excitement were visible on the smiling faces of young people, adults and the priests celebrating Mass.

“At the end of the Mass”, said a girl from Brazil, “we rushed back home to get to know the new Pope, and to welcome him, albeit through a video.”

Needless to say the joy of the Argentines in the little town, who are quite numerous, a joy shared by all: “I would say to the new Pope that here in Loppiano the whole world welcomes him and

we are close to him to bring the love of God to everyone”, a nun from Latin America exclaimed. “We were particularly touched by the Pope’s words on fraternity, on mutual trust and on the path of faith between the Bishop of Rome and the people of God.”

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The little town joins the whole Church in assuring Pope Francis of its unity and joy on his election, and does so by reporting the President of the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce, own words:

“Together with the whole Church, I am very happy at this moment, which shows both the vitality of the Church, and the freshness of the Holy Spirit, which always finds a way to surprise.

In addition to surprise, because he certainly was not one of the most talked about Cardinals, there is the joy of thinking that, this too, is a sign of novelty for the Church of today, which I believe is living a special moment, which started with Pope Benedict XVI stepping down as the Bishop of Rome, and has continued with the election of this new Pope, who has been able to instill a remarkable echo throughout the world.

The choice of the name Francis is very significant, since it seems to express the desire for a return to the radical nature of the Gospel, to a simple life, to a great attention to humanity and all the religions.

It also seems to me particularly noteworthy to have chosen the name of Francis as a Jesuit: I think that this means openness to the charisms, to all the charisms, and to recognize the good in each one of them and value it.

I was particularly struck by his simple style, a familiar style, on his first public appearance on the balcony: it seemed to me that he knew how to touch the hearts of men, women and children who were present there. I believe that at this time, in which there is so much suffering in humanity, we need someone who is capable of touching people’s hearts, and to make everyone feel the joy of having a father and a brother who loves us.”

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