10 things you need to know about Pope Francis

1. Pope Francis is a pope of many “firsts”.

He is the first to take the name “Francis,” after Francis of Assisi, the itinerant friar and great saint of the poor and the downtrodden. He is the first pope from the Americas, having been born and raised in Argentina by Italian immigrants. He is the first pope from the Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, that produced great evangelizers and reformers. Finally, he is the first pope to have been ordained priest after Vatican II, the ecumenical council that modernized the Church. For Pope Francis, Vatican II was a “beautiful work of the Holy Spirit,” and a “renewal movement that simply comes from the same Gospel.”

2. Pope Francis sees himself as a sinner.

Yes, a sinner just like anyone, but one whom the merciful Lord had looked upon and called to a life of service. His religious experience can be summed up by his motto: Miserando atque Eligendo. The phrase, which is from the Homilies of Bede the Venerable, is Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s episcopal motto, that he has retained as pope. Its English translation is “By Having Mercy and by Choosing Him.” Bede was reflecting on how the Lord Jesus Christ called Matthew, who was a detested publican. In his mercy, the Lord told Matthew, “Follow me.” Francis, who was a club bouncer at one point in his life, tells fellow Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro in an interview: “That finger of Jesus pointing at Matthew. That’s me. I feel like him… like Matthew.”

3. Pope Francis believes the Church should be more like a “field hospital after battle,” with bishops serving as true pastors and priests spending more time in confessionals, consoling wounded souls.

“The ministers of the Church,” he says, “must be ministers of mercy above all.” Priests should shun careerism or the lure of moving up the hierarchy. Bishops must avoid the “scandal” of being “airport bishops” and must tend to the flock in their charge. “The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of the people, who walk through the dark night with them, who know how to dialogue and to descend into their people’s night, into the darkness, but without getting lost,” he says.

4. Pope Francis wants to keep it simple but “cannot live without people.”

Limousines are simply not the cup of tea of this frugal pope, who rode commuter trains as bishop in his native Buenos Aires. To this day, the Pope carries his own briefcase, and he has kept his old ring as well as the silver pectoral cross he has used since being created cardinal in 2001. Much has also been written about the Holy Father’s decision to live at Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican residence for visiting clergy, rather than at the Papal Apartments in the Apostolic Palace. Pope Francis clarifies that the living quarters of his predecessors, while large and tastefully decorated, are not luxurious. The reason for not moving into the palace was simply to be able to meet people. He tells Fr. Spadaro: “I cannot live without people. I need to live my life with others.”

5. Pope Francis only has the deepest of affections for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his “brother” who now lives in a monastery at the Vatican.

“He is a man of God, a humble man, a man of prayer,” Pope Francis told journalists aboard the flight back to Rome after World Youth Day 2013 in Rio. “Two popes” at the Vatican doesn’t bother him at all. “It’s like having your grandfather in the house, a wise grandfather. When families have a grandfather at home, he is venerated, he is loved, he is listened to. Pope Benedict is a man of great prudence. He doesn’t interfere!” Pope Francis is thus supportive of his predecessor’s own reforms such as allowing the wider use of the Traditional Latin Mass, which he has described as “prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity.”

6. Pope Francis is a reformer; he is not afraid to shake things up.

The Holy Father proceeded with reforms at the Institute for the Works of Religion (known as the Vatican Bank) that began under his predecessor Benedict XVI. In February 2014, he established a new office, the Secretariat for the Economy, which will serve as the Vatican’s financial watchdog. The Secretariat reports to the new Council for the Economy, which will have seven cardinals and bishops, but also an unprecedented membership of seven lay experts. Earlier, Pope Francis formed an advisory body made up of eight trusted cardinals, whose job is to advise him on reforms in the Roman Curia and the governance of the Universal Church.

7. Pope Francis says “no” to an economy of exclusion.

The Holy Father reinforced Catholic Social Doctrine in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“Joy of the Gospel”). He says “no” to an economy that promotes inequality, a “throwaway culture,” and the “idolatry of money.” He laments: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” The solution lies at resolving, without delay, the structural causes of poverty. Welfare is only a temporary response. What’s also needed is a rejection of financial speculation and absolute market autonomy.

8. Pope Francis warns Christians against falling into the trap of spiritual worldliness,” which is “self-centeredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God.

“Spiritual worldliness which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church,” the Holy Father explains in Evangelii Gaudium, “consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being.” Having a worldly church can take the form of ostentatious preoccupation with doctrine and prestige, social or political gain, or a social life “full of appearances, meetings, dinners and receptions.” It can be a “business mentality” in which one is “caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the Church as an institution.” To avoid this, the Church must “constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focused on Jesus Christ, and her commitment to the poor.”

9. Pope Francis is a fervent devotee of the Blessed Mother.

Upon his election as Pope, Francis made it a point to visit Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major, twice, to pray the rosary and entrust his pontificate to the Mother of God. Latin America, where the Pope hails from, is particularly known for its closeness to the Blessed Mother, and is home to great Marian shrines like Guadalupe and Aparecida. Mary, Pope Francis believes, is indispensable to the work of the New Evangelization. “Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly in order to feel important themselves,” he says.

10. Pope Francis is a son of the Church.

The so-called “Francis effect” has become a media narrative, with some commentators going as far as anticipating radical changes in the 2,000-year-old Church. But Pope Francis has made it clear: the position of the Church on pressing moral issues is his position as well. “I am a son of the Church,” he exclaims. But in the present times, he says, there has to be concern over “concrete needs” and the Gospel making a real impact on the faithful. The Church’s strictures have to be applied with genuine love, for God’s mercy knows no bounds. The Pope says: “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.”

Selected Sources:

Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, November 24, 2013
“A Big Heart Open to God: The Exclusive Interview with Pope Francis” (America: The National Catholic Review), September 30, 2013
Press Conference of Pope Francis During the Return Flight from the Apostolic Journey to Rio de Janeiro on the Occasion of the XXVIII World Youth Day, July 28, 2013


POPE FRANCIS’ Suggested New Year’s Resolution.


– “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”

– “Take care of your family life, giving your children and loved ones not just money, but most of all your time, attention and love.”

– “Take care of your relationships with others, transforming your faith into life and your words into good works, especially on behalf of the needy.”

– “Be careful how you speak, purify your tongue of offensive words, vulgarity and worldly decadence.”

– “Heal wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving those who have hurt us and medicating the wounds we have caused others.”

– “Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”

– “Be careful of envy, lust, hatred and negative feelings that devour our interior peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.”

– “Watch out for anger that can lead to vengeance; for laziness that leads to existential euthanasia; for pointing the finger at others, which leads to pride; and for complaining continually, which leads to desperation.”

– “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker … the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.”

Let’s do this!!! 🙂

Prayer Petitions (Soft copy)

Dear Jesus,

Hello po! I’m so happy na ang prayer petition na ito ay makakarating ng Spain. Buti pa yung letter, makakarating… Ako kaya? Kailan? Yun po ang number one na Petition ko. Hehehe. Joke po 🙂

Lord Jesus, Sa totoo lang hindi ko po alam kung anong gusto kong hilingin sa inyo. Kasi halos binigay niyo na sa akin ang lahat. Hindi na ako lugi. Hehe… Gusto ko lang pong mag pasalamat sa lahat lahat ng pinagkaloob ninyo sa akin. Sobra sobra po at minsan yung iba kahit hindi ko naman deserve eh binibigay niyo parin sa akin ng buong buo at walang hinihinging kapalit. Lalong lalo napo sa inyong pagpapatawad at patuloy pa pag mamahal. Angdami dami kong pagkukulang sa inyo pero patuloy niyo parin akong pinagpapala. Panginoon, Maraming maraming salamat sa lahat. Sa Biyaya ng buhay, Pamilya, Kaibigan, Trabaho, Talento at mga bukod tanging kakayahan na mayroon ako. Hindi sapat ang isang buong papel na ito para iparating ko sa inyo ang lubos kong pasasalamat. At sa totoo lang kulang na kulang ang buong buhay ko bilang kapalit sa kabutihang pinamalas ninyo sa akin.  Panginoon, Higit ko pong ipinagpapasalamat dahil biniyayaan ninyo ako ng pusong bukas. Siguro kung hanggang ngayon ay sarado pa rin ako sa inyong presensya, patuloy parin siguro akong gagawa ng masama at hindi ko mararamdaman ang ganitong klaseng saya na nararanasan ko. Buti nalang at pinili niyo ako bilang inyong tagasunod. At Buti nalang din at Mayroong EYM na patuloy na nagbibigay sa akin ng inspirasyon at nag papaalala sa akin na hindi ako kailanman makakaranas ng lungkot at pagkalugmok dahil alam kong may mga tao kayong ipinadala upang damayan, intindihin at mahalin ako. Panginoon, napakasaya ko na naging parte ako ng pamilyang ito.  Sila ang nagbigay ng kulay sa buhay ko na noon eh puno ng galit at poot. Maraming maraming salamat po. Sana mas makasama ko pa sila hanggang maging member na kami ng AP. Hehehe. 🙂

Lord God, Marami po akong gustong ipagdasal sa inyo. Unang una syempre yung kalusugan at kaligtasan ng lahat ng myembro ng pamilya ko… Sana lagi niyo silang gagabayan at mamahalin. Gusto ko ring maramdaman nila kung gaano kasarap ang pakiramdam ng minamahal ninyo. Ilayo niyo po sila sa anumang kapahamakan. Sana rin maging kuntento kami sa mga bagay na pinagkaloob po ninyo sa amin. At syempre, Sana maging mabuting modelo ako sa aking pamilya. Ganundin sa lahat ng aking mga kamag anak. 🙂

Humihingi rin po ako ng paumanhin sa mga pagkakataong sinaktan ko ang inyong mahal na puso. Patawad po kung minsan eh pinipili kong iwasan ang iyong presensya. Patawad po sa aking mga pagkukulang at pagkakamali. Panginoon, Patuloy ko paring hinihiling sa inyo na sana ay tulungan mo akong maging IKAW kesa maging AKO… gusto kong maging mabuti, gusto kong maging tapat… Gusto kong gawin kung ano kalugod lugod sa iyo. Gusto kong maging Masaya na napapasaya ka. Tulungan mo ako Panginoon… Hindi man ako karapat dapat o perpekto. Gusto kong tulungan mo ako.. Salamat po..

Ahhmm, Lord God,  Itinataas ko po sa inyo ang lahat ng aking nararamdaman at nararanasan ngayon, panatilihin mo po akong maging matatag sa bawat pagsubok sa buhay. Patuloy ko pong ipinapanalangin sa iyo ang ROGATE YOUTH, Sana hindi man sa pamamagitan ko ay patuloy na lumago at lumalalim ang pananamapalataya at pagkakakilala nila sa inyo. Gayundin sa mga kaibigan kong Rogationist Fathers and Brothers. Patuloy niyo silang I-bless Lord at nawa maging tapat sila sa kanilang paglilingkod. Lalo na si Fr. Noel, Si Fr. Viktor, Fr. Ranny, Fr. Ronnie, Fr.Herbert, Fr. Jessie… At pati narin po si Fr. John Morota. J Bigyan niyo rin po ng perseverance si Bro. Francis si Bro. Reymark. Bro Ro, Bro Martin, Bro Philip. Matupad nawa nila ang kanilang pangarap na maglingkod sa inyo. At lahat lahat po ng seminarista sa buong mundo. 🙂

Lord, Sanayin mo nawa ako na magdasal hindi lang para sa aking sariling kapakanan kundi pati narin sa ibang tao… Kahapon po ay tinanong ko ang mga ko kaibigan through text message kung ano ba ang gusto nilang ipagdasal at ipagpasalamat sa Diyos. Nangako akong tutulungan ko silang itaas sa inyo kanilang bawat panalangin. Kaya’t Dinggin niyo po sana ang mga kahilingan nila;

From Maricel Polmo: “I pray that whatever illness I and my loved ones have, be healed. I pray that we may experience peace and serenity at all times. I pray that every Filipino citizen who is experiencing poverty may find abundance through God’s Mercy. I pray that the love I share and give inspire and touch other’s heart. Amen.”

From Noel Condat: Sama mo naman sa prayers ko na sana lumabas ng healthy ang baby boy at baby girl ko. Delikado ang pagbubuntis ni misis. Sana lagi siyang gabayan ni Lord…”

From Myrna Tuyay: Hmmm, Since Birthday ng God’s Gift ko, Prayer request ko Protection for him and guidance. To my family naman more blessing spiritually. Thanks!”

From my Sister Ana Amisola; “Thanks Pril, We thank the Lord for the gift of life, we thank thee for providing us food on the table. We pray for families, May the Lord guide and bless them always, we pray specifically for our careers, For Jake; we pray for the company’s success, we hope they could have more trainees… I pray that I’ll get a promotion soon.”

From John Solomon Espina: “To deepen my faith In God. Saka makatapos ako ng pag aaral”

From Marilyn May Pogoy: “Wow! Talaga Ate?  Hehe. Ito ang sa akin, Hahabaan ko na, Libre lang naman diba?

Para sa community namin na mas mangibabaw at matibay na pananampalataya sa Diyos sa lahat ng oras upang makamtan ang tunay na pagkakaisa.

Sa Rogate Youth Ministry, sana sa patuloy na pagtanda ng Organisasyon natin ay patuloy din itong lumago. Paglago na may mas malalim na pagmamahal sa bawat isa at paglago na may takot at paniniwala sa Diyos. Gayundin sa patuloy na mas matibay na pagsuporta sa bawat miyembro at lakas ng pangangatawan, kalusugan, Pagmamahal, Pagkakaisa sa lahat ng Myiembro ng RYM sa buong mundo.

Sa makulay na pamilya na ipinagkaloob ng panginoon sa akin. Awa’y patuloy niya itong basbasan ng pagmamahal, pagkakaisa, malawak na pang unawa, matibay at mabuting kalusugan, tatag ng loob at higit sa lahat tatag ng pananampalataya sa lahat ng oras.

Sa akin naman, Peace of Mind habang nag rereview, at malawak na pangunawa sa lahat ng bagay, mas mahabang pasensya tibay ng loob, lakas ng pangagatawan at mas matibay na pananampalataya sa panginoon sa lahat ng oras at matibay na lovelife. Hehe

Ayan. Sorry napahaba ata. 🙂

From Kuya Randy Niño Sagun: “Please include me in your prayers today. It’s my birthday. Thanks!”

At Lord Maraming marami pa pong iba! Kulang ang papel at isang araw para ipagdasal ko ang bawat panalangin ng aking mga mahal sa buhay kaya siguro patuloy ko nalang silang ipagdadasal sa inyo sa lahat ng pagkakataon. Alam kong kahit saan at kahit kailan, hindi man makarating sa Spain eh alam kong lahat ng Prayers namin ay naririnig ninyo. Kaya maraming maraming Salamat po talaga! 🙂

Hanggang dito nalang po muna ha? Sana pag dating ng araw na makabisita ako diyan eh Makita ko itong sulat ko. Hihihi.

Thank you, thank you Lord!  I will never get tired of thanking you for everything that you did for me. I love you so much! Amen! 🙂

PS. I’m also lifting up to you the prayer of my Mother and my cousin Erlinda Loterte. They wrote you a letter. Herewith attached. I hope you’ll read them too. Amen!


Your daughter



Wonderfully Made

Dear April,

You are wonderfully made. you are faultless in my eyes. Don’t die to be like somebody else. 

If only you could see yourself The way that i do. And know yourself, the way i know you then surely you’d love yourself as somebody who is wonderfully made.. that is you.

I love you my child


Dear God,

Hindi ko po alam kung anong dapat kong maramdaman. Basta ang alam ko lang, mahinang mahina ako. kailangan ko ng lakas, kailangan kong tatagan ang loob ko para sa huli hindi ako magmukhang kawawa. Never nang pumasok sa isip ko na mangyayari ulit na masaktan ako tulad nung mga nakaraan. Paniwalang paniwala na kasi ako na EPIC love na talaga yung naranasan ko sa kanya, yun pala, EPIC Fail nanaman.

Sa totoo lang, hinanda ko naman talaga ang sarili ko para dito eh. Pero dahil sa mga pinakita at pinaramdam niya sakin, Binigay ko nanaman ng buong buo ang pagmamahal at tiwala ko. Sabi ko noon, hinding hindi ko na ibibigay ng buo yun sa kahit kanino. Pero ibang iba ang nangyari, Kaya ito ako ngayon. Talo nanaman. Sobrang sakit. Pero kaya pa naman. Nanjan ka naman eh.

Pero Lord, Hanggang kailan o ilang beses ko paba kailangang masaktan para matagpuan ko na ung tunay na kaligayahan ko sa pag ibig? Ano po bang gusto niyong iparating sa akin? Gayunpaman, Hindi ko kayo sinisisi sa lahat. Mas pinili kong paniwalaan ang magandang plano ninyo para sa akin. Kung kailangan kong magdusa o masaktan pa ng ilang beses, titiisin ko, dahil alam kong pagtapos nung mga experiences na iyon, magiging worth it ang lahat. May tiwala ako sa inyo. Alam kong magiging maayos po ang lahat.

Amen. ❤

Gospel: Mt 18:21 – 19:1

Then Peter asked him, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
    This story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven: A king decided to settle accounts with his servants. Among the first of them was one who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods, as repayment.
    The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back every-thing.’ The king took pity on him, and not only set him free, but even canceled his debt.
     When this servant left the king’s presence, he met one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the throat and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ His fellow servant threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’ But the other did not agree, and sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt.
     Now the servants of the king saw what had happened. They were extremely upset, and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgive you all that you owed me when you begged me to do so. Weren’t you bound to have pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ The lord was now angry. He handed the wicked servant over to be punished, until he had paid the whole debt.”
    Jesus added, “So will my heavenly Father do with you, unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.”
    When Jesus had finished these sayings, he left Galilee and arrived at the border of Judea, on the other side of the Jordan River.  

    One of the most difficult things to do is to forgive. If the hurt is too deep, it takes a herculean effort before one can truly forgive and forget. And only a few are capable of this. The vast majority of us need time before we could truly heal into wholeness and move on without rancour and ill will to those who have offended us. That is why it is not easy to be the Lord’s disciple. The demand is such that we have to truly believe in order to overcome. We have to acknowledge first our own sinfulness and believe that we have been forgiven of our entire debts. That’s the only time we can forgive wholeheartedly. For what we don’t have, we cannot give. To claim that we have been forgiven gives us the power to forgive others as well.