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Pope Francis

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The Pope's seven most powerful gestures from his first 1,000 days

2015-12-05

After one thousand days on the job, Pope Francis has shown that he speaks with more than just words. His gestures are often as powerful as his most eloquent speeches.

1. ASKING FOR PRAYERS
Just hours after he was elected pontiff, when he was introduced to the world, the Pope made a gesture that would come to define his pontificate: He asked people to pray for him.

POPE FRANCIS
"I would like to bless you...but before I'd like to ask all of you for a favor. Before the bishop blesses his flock, I ask that you pray to the Lord, so that He blesses me. The prayer of the people, asking for the Bishop's blessing.”

2. CLOSENESS
A few days later, during the Mass to begin his pontificate, the Pope did this:

He stepped off the Popemobile to greet Cesar. This was the first of many times he would step off the Popemobile or bring someone along with him, as he did with this Argentine priest and these Spanish children.

3. AUSTERITY
But the way he handles himself on the Popemobile isn't the only way the Pope makes a statement with his transportation. He is known throughout the world for his simple taste in cars.
 
4. SURPRISE PHONE CALLS
Another one of his favorite gestures are surprise phone calls. He called these Spanish nuns, but they didn't answer. So the Pope left an affectionate message for the them.

POPE FRANCIS
"What are the nuns doing that they can't answer the phone? I am Pope Francis, I wish to greet you as the year comes to a close. I'll see if I can call you back later. May God bless you.”

5. SHARING A TABLE WITH THE POOR
The Pope is used to living in a community. That means he doesn't like eating alone. And he often takes meals with the most marginalized people. When he visited the Caritas soup kitchen in Florence, Italy, he sat and ate with 60 poor people. And he did the same at a prison in Naples.

6. SPONTANEITY
Pope Francis is known to ditch his plans and improvise. He often does this with prepared speeches during foreign trips or during other events. During his visit to a church on the outskirts of Rome, he first stopped by a neighborhood where poor immigrants live.

"Oh God! How exciting!”

"An applause.”

He did the same thing while visiting these workers at a Roman fair.

And before one of his trips abroad, he stopped by an optometrist to get new lenses.

7. TENDER BRIDGES
Pope John Paul II famously said that it's important to "build bridges rather than erect walls.” Pope Francis takes this seriously. One of his most significant gestures was to pray in front of the wall that separates Israel and Palestine.

But as the Pope believes in the culture of encounter, he took it one step further: He led a prayer at the Vatican with the presidents of Israel and Palestine.

Pope Francis was also the first Pope to have visited a Waldensian church. He apologized to members of the Protestant denomination for the damage the Catholic Church had done to them.

POPE FRANCIS
"I ask for forgiveness for the non-Christian attitudes and behaviors, some even inhumane, that we carried out against you. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, forgive us.”

And as he thinks it is possible dialogue with everyone, one of his most recent gestures was this visit to a mosque in the Central African Republic. The mosque's head imam joined him on the Popemobile afterward.



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