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Rome Reports

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Bergoglio told me: Call me, even if you're 8,000 miles away

FR. ANTONIO GRANDE Rector, Argentine College (Rome) "He told me that I was a priest that came to guide the priest community, so I needed to be very attentive, accessible, and close to all their needs.â? Father Antonio Grande became the rector for the Argentine College in Rome in 2011. The institution falls under the jurisdiction of Argentina's Bishops' Conference, whose president at that time was none other than Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Fr. Grande recalled vividly the conversation they had before he moved to Europe. FR. ANTONIO GRANDE Rector, Argentine College (Rome) "One of the things that struck me the most was that, since I was coming here, 8,000 miles away, he insisted that despite the distance, I could still count on him being there for me. And that, if I needed to call him, it would not bother him, on the contrary, he would be happy to hear about what was going on.â? He also pointed out that Archbishop Bergoglio, in his role as shepherd, was deeply concerned that his flock did not feel supported and defended. FR. ANTONIO GRANDE Rector, Argentine College (Rome) "I think that this is very important within the Church, and he always talks about the problem of community life. I think that, at several levels, we lack communication and dialogue. All these levels: bishops, priests, parents, community leaders, we need to take charge. We need to trust others, but at the same time, be close enough to share and search for key moments together.â? Father Antonio Grande summarizes this as Pope Francis' governing style. A style that he picked up over many years as a bishop in Argentina, and that the world can see, from Rome. JRB/RCA MG/RR FA -PR Up: YJA