Pope Francis has been named TIME Magazine’s Person of The Year for 2013.
Every year since 1927, Time has selected the individual the editors believe is the most influential person, for better or worse, in a given year. Many iconic names have graced the coveted cover, and this year the honor goes to the leader of the Catholic Church, who began life as Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February of 2013, Cardinal Bergoglio became the 266th pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. At the time of his election on March 13, 2013, Catholics were getting ready to celebrate Easter, and the conclave was under great pressure to elect a new pope. When the white smoke finally billowed from tiny chimney of the Sistine Chapel, the huge crowds gathered in Rome’s Saint Peter’s Square erupted in joyous celebration.
Francis was born in Flores, a barrio of Buenos Aires. Argentina, on December 17, 1936. He was ordained as a priest in 1969, named Archbishop of Buenos Aries in 1998, and elevated to cardinal in 2001. When Francis was elected by the College of Cardinals, he became the first South American to lead the Catholic Church since its humble beginnings almost 2000 years ago.
From the start, Pope Francis did things his own way, taking the traditional congratulations from the College of Cardinals standing as opposed to sitting on the papal throne. Pope Francis continued his modest ways by refusing to move into the lavish Papal apartments, and instead, taking a more modest guest house as his residence.
Pope Francis has become so popular that everything he says or does becomes a headline. He even has a Twitter account which he uses regularly, and he is the spiritual equivalent of a rock star if such a term can be applied to a Pope.
The faithful have responded well to the changes Francis is planning for his church. He is dedicated to doing away with all the trappings of luxury associated with the papacy and returning the church to its original mission of helping the poor and sharing the Good News of the Gospel.
There is no question that Pope Francis has certainly made a major impact since he became the leader of the world’s 1.5 billion Roman Catholics. He is an excellent choice for Time’s Person Of The Year.