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The message Bergoglio gave to Argentinians who taught catechism in slums

2013-04-05

JUAN MANUEL DUARTE
Argentinian Catechist
"Bergoglio arrived alone, without any bodyguards and without an official car. We could tell he was very humble. We just kept starring at him and thinking, 'who is he? Is this really our  cardinal?'"

Juan Manuel Duarte teaches catechism  in some of Argentina's poorest slums. He remembers meeting Bergoglio for the first time during a Mass, where a  group was getting ready to head out and spread the Gospel among the poor.

JUAN MANUEL DUARTE
Argentinian Catechist
"He talked about Catechism itself and the significance of teaching it out in the slums. For us, it was a very moving moment.”

He says his simple, humble style is what stood out the most. So recent images of him greeting faithful outside a parish may be new to those who don't  know him well, but for those who do, it's just the norm.

Duarte says, Bergoglio never asked for special treatment, despite being the main religious figure in Argentina.

JUAN MANUEL DUARTE
Argentinian Catechist
"What was even crazier was that after the Mass he stayed longer and ate with the group. He didn't get any special treatment. He ate with us and he ate exactly the same food we did. He just digged into the big pot and ate some of our typical Argentinian food.”

So even though the world was surprised by the Pope's direct call to serve the poorest, people back home like Duarte, say it's the same thing he said back home for years, when he was a Cardinal, a Bishop or a local parish priest.


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