Pope Francis & St. Francis...
If you’re a longtime subscriber to St. Anthony Messenger, you’ll know that, every once in a while, we introduce a new, regular column into this magazine. Sure, we’ve got our permanent, very popular columns (departments), such as “Followers of St. Francis,” “Ask a Franciscan,” “Reel Time,” “Channel Surfing,” and more. But the editors here know that our readers like to mix it up. Sometimes it’s just a desire for variety, and we’re happy to provide it. Other times there’s some celebration or observance among Catholics worldwide. Then there is Pope Francis.
No one seems to get enough of this guy! Google News has resorted to collecting a page of news stories a few times a day rather than barraging subscribers with notice after notice. Of course, we editors started publishing regular feature articles about Pope Francis. He’s doing so many things that are challenging us to live and enjoy our faith more deeply!
As the “Francis effect” persisted, we decided to initiate a regular column, “The Spirit of Francis,” that launches in this issue. It took us a few months to develop our approach and to recruit authors whom we are confident will have something new, insightful, and masterfully written to share. We chose to play our strongest hand: helping people understand how the spirit of St. Francis inspires the spirit of Pope Francis.
So we looked for socially engaged experts on our beloved St. Francis. We settled on a team of two friars (Pat McCloskey, OFM, and Murray Bodo, OFM), a Franciscan sister (Joanne Schatzlein, OSF), and a laywoman (Gina Loehr). Pat you’ll know from our own pages; Murray is a prolific author and poet (Francis: The Journey and the Dream is his most well-known), Joanne lectures worldwide on St. Francis, and Gina wrote the book Saint Francis, Pope Francis (Servant Books). Murray and Joanne regularly lead pilgrimages to Assisi.
I think it’s going to be a great column! I hope you agree.
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Featured image: CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters