This is the blog of Father John Barry. I am the pastor of St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Bowie, Maryland. As our parish council defined us a few years ago, “St. Edward parish is a family of faith-filled disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit, living the gospel through worship and service.” This “Mission Statement” remains our focus, and it is written in on our parish bulletin as a reminder. Thus, I thought I’d lead off with it here.
I am the first pastor in the parish to have a blog. I will be learning to do this as I go along. I heard that Benedict XVI had the first papal blog and that he was the first pope on Twitter.
I suppose Pope Francis will follow suit. The popes will have much traffic and followers to their messages; I hope to have even just a few readers from the parish tag along. A blog gives me room to share or report things that might interest some people. If not, then that’s fine. I enjoy just trying this new thing out.
THIS FIRST BLOG’S “HEADLINES”
Our Catholic Church has a new pope. He is Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina He is a South American, the first such pope in history. He has some Italian in his recent lineage, which also will help him a lot. He was born Dec. 17, 1936. He is 77. This is the biggest story of this Spring 2013 in the Church, and it will be the biggest one of the year, so I suppose my blog should mark it as happening! He began his pontificate on March 13th, just about a month ago. He is Pope number 266.
Bergoglio has an interesting so far. He worked briefly as a chemical technician and a nightclub bouncer(!) before entering the seminary. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina’s Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and was created a Cardinal in 2001. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, the subsequent papal conclave elected Bergoglio to be his successor. He is the first Jesuit pope, yet it is interesting that he chose the papal name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan order, and an Italian. Pope Francis is the first non-European Pope since Pope Gregory III in 741, some 1272 years ago. Francis’ election is certainly a Church-changer from the outset.
You can wrap up reading today’s blog here, or keep going if you want a little info on our pope that perhaps isn’t in the media.
EXTRA It has been noted that this new pope will take a humble approach to the Chair of Peter, as he did as bishop in Buenos Aires. He will devote much time to noting the needs of the poor, and he will be a man of dialogue and openness that will either greatly please some persons in the Church, or perhaps disrupt a few who have maybe a staid view for Catholicism. Yet the new pontiff will not stray from the serious stands and traditions of The Faith, as he has assured Catholics that he is a “son of the Church.” Yet he wants a less confrontational rigid Church under him. He has already stated that Catholics have concentrated excessively on condemning abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts, while neglecting the greater need for tenderness, mercy and compassion. Still, while as a Cardinal, he opposed gay marriage in Argentina, citing it as a “destructive attack on God’s plan,” and he has called abortion “horrific” and he has insisted that women be valued, but not clericized. He has maintained (in his episcopal history) that divorced and re-married Catholics may not receive Holy Communion, and he has excommunicated a former Catholic priest for Eucharistic sacrilege and heretical views. So, he will defend the Church and petition her members to live in holiness. He will bring some things new to the papacy, as in style and approach and priorities, and he will keep things traditional and true with the 2000 year old Church, too.
Welcome Pope Francis. I would like to get to know you better. We all would.
Accordingly, he urged Bishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta to speak out against adoption by same-sex couples,  Furthermore, he emphasized the Christian obligation to assist the poor and the needy in an optimistic tone, as well as promoting peace negotiations and interfaith dialogue