Francis: the Pope of gestures
March 13 marks 10 years since Pope Francis was elected. From the beginning, he lived the papacy in his own way. He appeared on the Apostolic balcony dressed simply, without many of the traditional garments. He introduced himself as the Bishop of Rome and asked for the people's blessing.
The next day, he surprised everyone by personally paying for his stay at the residence where he lived when he came to Rome for conclaves.
FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Former Vatican Spokesperson
There, he picked up his bags, said hi to the staff, and he paid his bill. He wanted to set a good example. Then he returned to Santa Marta.
Over the years, Pope Francis has shown that he has a sense of humor.
And that he knows how to move people.
One touching moment was when the Pope hugged a child who burst into tears when he asked if his atheist father, who had recently died, was in heaven.
Children have had a starring role in several entertaining moments with Pope Francis. Like this child who was not afraid to approach him.
But the Pope's friendliness is not limited to physical encounters. He has also made a habit of calling people who leave their numbers in their letters to him. If they don't answer, he simply leaves them a message.
What are the nuns doing that they can't answer me? This is Pope Francis. I wanted to greet you at the end of the year. I will see if I can call you later. May God bless you.
His travels were also a source of heartwarming scenes. But there were also difficult moments, like his visit to a refugee camp in Lesbos.
As Pope, he has repeatedly asked forgiveness for the abuses committed by the clergy.
Yesterday, I met with 8 survivors of sexual abuse, abuse of power and of conscience. Recalling what they have told me, I would like to place before the Lord's mercy these crimes and ask forgiveness for them.
Pope Francis has not been afraid to show emotion. He expressed his joy when he welcomed bishops from China to their first synod in 2018.
Let's give them a very warm welcome.
During a visit to Piazza di Spagna in Rome on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, he was visibly moved after recalling the situation in Ukraine.
I would like to bring to you today the gratitude of the Ukrainian people...Ukrainian people for the peace that we have long been asking the Lord for.
In his work towards peace, the Pope has been so moved, he has even kissed the feet of the warring leaders of South Sudan.
Pope Francis' pontificate has been marked by his gestures. One gesture that will forever be remembered was the Urbi et Orbi blessing at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020. The image of the Pope praying in an empty St. Peter's Square left the world speechless.