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Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas [Kindle Edition]

Robert Moynihan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From the founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, the world's most well-informed, comprehensive monthly on the Roman Catholic Church, comes this enlightening introduction to the life and spiritual teachings of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, the first Pope of the Americas.

On March, 13, 2013, 115 Cardinals elected for the first time a Pope from outside of Europe. Pope Francis, a native of Argentina, is not just the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere, he is also the first Jesuit to ever hold the Chair of Peter. This means a bridging of the Northern and Southern hemispheres and religious traditions in a way we've never seen before, signifying a new global vision for the 1.2 billion people who call themselves Catholic.

Now a leading expert on the papacy provides the ultimate introduction to this new Pope, including biographical information and an absorbing collection of Jorge Mario Bergoglio most persuasive words.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

DR. ROBERT MOYNIHAN is founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, a monthly journal on Church and world affairs from Rome. He is regarded as one of the world's leading Vatican analysts.He received his Ph.D. in medieval studies from Yale University and divides his time between Rome and Front Royal, Virginia.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

The Head and the Heart



Pray for me.

-Pope Francis, March 13, 2013, from the balcony of

St. Peter's Basilica immediately after his election


The initial silence of the new pope struck all who saw him. And during those moments, as Pope Francis stood there smiling, seeming almost awkward, the world formed its first, and inevitably lasting, impression of the new bishop of Rome. It was a good impression. In his silence, Francis seemed to express a modesty, a humility, that the crowd below appreciated. Still, they desired to know him better, to understand who he was and what he intended to do.

But,  for  a moment,  that  desire  was  frustrated  by the new pope's  evident  desire  to remain  "hidden"  for just a little while longer, though the cameras of the world were trained upon him. And in that tension between words and silence, between a desire to know and a wish to remain hid- den, a bond was formed between Francis and the people of St. Peter's Square.

How such things happen is not easy to explain. But be- fore he said anything at all, the people had already begun to understand him, and to appreciate him. In his silence, in his modesty, in what appeared to be even a certain clumsiness, he was revealing, it seemed, his humanity, his sensitivity, and so spontaneous cries sprang up: "Viva il Papa!" "Long live the pope!"

A connection was formed. A type of communion. And we sensed that hidden from our sight were great depths of emotion, and great depths of thought, which were the source of a simplicity that drew us already into a relation- ship with him. Francis was not polished. He was not re- hearsed. He was simply himself. A man dressed in white, standing in silence.

He had emerged as the leader of the Catholic Church at a very delicate moment. The previous pope, Benedict XVI, had stepped down from his post just two weeks before, fly- ing in a helicopter from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo, fifteen miles outside of Rome, in an unprecedented decision that had left many in the Church confused and uncertain.

One could not look at Francis standing there, smiling, seemingly at peace, without thinking: There is something in him, deep down, which motivates him, which energizes him, which informs his life. But we could not know at that moment what that "something" was. We were only to discover it slowly during the days that followed.

And so those first days of the new pope became in some ways like a detective story, where each action, each word of Francis, gave us a clue to who he is, and why. The mystery was: What is the source of this man's humility and strength? And the answer was: his faith.

We would discover later that he was drawing not upon the advice of clerical advisers, or media "spinmeisters," but upon deep wells of personal faith, wells whose sources were in the faith of his grandparents and parents and brothers and sisters, and his parish priest when he was a child, in the Marian piety of his youth, and in the books he had read, in the teachings of St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Ignatius of Loyola, in the whole, rich culture of Argentine Catholicism in the 1930s and 1940s, leading to an unfor- gettable experience in 1953 of what he described as "God's mercy" toward him. It was then that he decided to commit his life to the cause of God in this fallen world.

In a talk on the Virgin Mary given on December 8, 2012, Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote something about Mary that seemed  to describe  also  this  initial  moment  of the  new pope's silence: "I consider it important to focus on the final sentence of Luke's Annunciation narrative. 'And the angel departed from her.' The great hour of Mary's encounter with God's messenger-in which her whole life is changed- comes to an end, and she remains there alone, with a task that truly surpasses all human capacity." Benedict added: "May Mary Immaculate teach us to listen in silence to the voice of God, and receive his Grace which frees from sin and every selfishness so that we can taste true joy."

These words could serve as a preface to those first mo- ments of encounter with the new pope. Here we were, rather unknowingly beginning a journey of exploration into the heart, mind, and soul of the man who had just taken that unusual papal name Francis.

During the hour before the new pope appeared before the world and the citizens of Rome, he made a telephone call to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to tell him he would visit him soon. Then, when all was ready, the cardinal proto-deacon Jean-Louis Tauran came to the balcony and at 8:12 p.m., one hour and six minutes after the white smoke, announced the name of the new pope.

The College of Cardinals had chosen Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., age seventy-six, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to become the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis was only two years younger than Benedict XVI had been when he was elected, in 2005, but he was eighteen years older than Pope John Paul II, the prede- cessor of Benedict, who was fifty-eight when he was elected, in 1978.

The new pope's choice of a name was the first clue we had to his character, even before the new pontiff spoke a word. By choosing Francis instead of other possible names (Pius  XIII,  John XXIV,  Paul VII, John Paul III, Bene- dict XVII, or even Leo XIV), the new pope was signaling that he would chart his own course, break new ground- and that he would do so in great simplicity, and out of deep love for the poor of this world.

At 8:22 p.m.-ten  minutes after the announcement by Car- dinal Tauran-Pope Francis, preceded by the cross, ap- peared on the loggia of the basilica, to greet the people and to impart his first apostolic blessing, Urbi et Orbi (to the city of Rome and to the world). Beside him on the balcony stood Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, O.F.M., of Brazil. This was un- usual, against normal protocol.  Normally  only the pope's vicar for Rome (Cardinal Vallini), and the Vatican secretary of state (Cardinal Bertone), along with the papal master of ceremonies (Monsignor Marini), would be expected to stand with the new pope on the balcony. Later we would learn that Pope Francis had insisted that Hummes stand with him at that moment. This, too, seemed a clue to the man and his program, for Hummes has criticized the spread of global capitalism, claiming it has contributed to "misery and pov- erty affecting millions around the world." And Pope Francis would later reveal that he had been inspired to take his name from St. Francis  of  Assisi  by Hummes,  his good  friend, who had whispered to him after his election but before his choice of a name, "Don't forget the poor." At the very least, it showed how Francis could privilege a personal friendship at a moment of great solemnity.

"Brothers and sisters, good evening.

You know that the duty of the conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world to get him. But here we are.

I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan community of Rome has its bishop. Thank you!

First of all, I would like to say a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord will bless him and that our Lady will protect him."

The crowd then joined him as he prayed for Benedict, in Italian, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be to the Father.

"And now let us begin this journey," Francis said.

Bishop and people. This journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches. A journey of brotherhood, of love, of trust between us.

Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world, that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, here present, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.

And now I would like to give the blessing. But first, first, I want to ask you a favor. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord that he bless me-the prayer of the people, asking a Benediction for their Bishop. Let us say in silence this prayer, of you over me.

So once again, there was silence. The silence of prayer. Prayer not of the pope for the people, but of the people for the pope. Then Francis spoke again.

"I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

And he gave his blessing, in Latin, in the name of the

Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon. . . We will see one another soon.

Tomorrow I want to go to pray to the Madonna, that she may protect all of Rome. Good night and sleep well!

In these first words of his pontificate, Francis did three noteworthy things: First, he spoke of Pope Emeritus Benedict as "Bishop [of Rome] Emeritus Benedict." He did not use the words "Pope Emeritus" to refer to Benedict. Second, he asked the people to pray that the Lord bless him as he began his pontificate, before giving his own blessing of the people. Third, he said he would go the next day to "the Ma- donna," at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where there is an icon of Mary and the child Jesus, traditionally believed to have been painted by St. Luke, called the Salus Populi Romani, the Protection of the Roman People.

And so, in his first words, Francis set the tone of all that was to follow, one of humility, one of prayer.

Clearly, here was a pope with a deep Franciscan and Marian spirituality. Yet if his strength came from his faith, where had his spirituality come from? What did it mean to him? What could it mean to us? And why had he begun ...

Product Details

  • File Size: 1397 KB
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  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00EX5SF2I
  • Publisher: Image (April 30, 2013)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(41)
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Reading of Factual Events May 2, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Moynihan approaches the subject from a journalistic point of view but his writing is more than coldly restating the facts. He provides the truth interspersed with poetic relevance of the time. One truly gets a sense of what it must have been like to be in Vatican City and in Rome during this momentous occasion. Moynihan has the gift of stringing words together in such a way that one does not want to stop reading. The flow and ease in which "Pray For Me" was written, makes this volume a must read if you want to enjoy learning about this time in history.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thrilling Promise of Pope Francis May 3, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love this book. Author Robert Moynihan plays the role of a host making introductions; reading "Pray For Me" has made me feel as if I know our new Pope on a first-name basis. Using prose that flows gently down the river of good storytelling, I came to know and love Pope Francis through Moynihan's historical documentation and the personal anecdotes that are shared by people who know Jorge Mario Bergoglio well. This is a lovely book that has lifted my heart. Getting to know who Bergoglio was, and learning the kinds of choices he has made as a human being, convinced me that there is thrilling promise in this papacy. We have reason to be excited about the healing hand of love that Pope Francis is bringing to the world.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on Pope Francis May 2, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was very happy to pre-order this book on Amazon and received it the day it was released by the publisher and began to read it immediately and finished it in 3 days because it was so captivating. Bob Moynihan does an excellent job of writing about the early days of this Pope's reign and has a section on his life with very cogent comments by his only living sister. Those who read the magazine Inside the Vatican know how well Dr. Moynihan writes and edits articles and will be pleased to have their own copy of Pray for Me. I look forward to more analytical books by Dr. Moynihan as this pontificate evolves over the years. AJZangara, MD
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars of the Spirit, by the Spirit, and for the Spirit May 6, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author alerts that "you can turn to any page and open a space for prayer and meditation." I kept that in mind, and, after finishing the book, cannot disagree. This is a "prayer book" ready for savoring a minute or 2 before and after mass or for any meditation interval. It will not replace my Mass Mantra of "Life,Sacrifice,Virtue,Love,Humanity,Peace,Freedom,Death without fear," but it will be well used at other times, especially Part Three: "In His Own Words" which are brief reflections about 34 topics of importance to any civilized person. The book "puts you there" to witness Pope Francis as a common man put by good men into the oldest elected leadership position of the oldest organization in the world and the only organization committed to transcendental Love and Life in the world. Especially evident is the transcendental of ONENESS--the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Harmony of togetherness, as coming from the Pope. He is heavy into forgiveness and mercy but recognizes sin. And there is no arrogant sense of the US Supreme Courts': "Three generations of imbeciles is enough." I did find the new Pope dated in one instance: "From that time on I recite the fifeen mysteries of Rosary every day" (page 37). That statement reminded me of how I used to recite the Rosary daily when driving to the hospital in the early AM before I retired; only I recited 20 mysteries and incorporated them in the Prayer Section of my book Everybody For Everybody. End result: I am back to the daily Rosary of 20 mysteries, thanks to this book. A joy...truth, oneness, good and beautiful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring! June 11, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Reading about Pope Francis is a joy. His love of opera, of cooking, of soccer, of the poor dwelling in slums, and so on. He's a Henri Nouwen fan (unexpectedly?). He's a Romano Guardini fan (that doesn't surprise!). He quotes his grandmother in homilies at St Peter's Basilica. I mean, come on! Why am I not still pinching myself in overwhelmingly thankful incredulity that this man is our pope?

Dr Moynihan's book PRAY FOR ME is an account of the first few weeks of the pontificate of our dear Holy Father, Pope Francis. It delves a bit into the pope's family history, the history of his education, his time as bishop and cardinal archbishop in Buenos Aires; but the preponderant emphasis is on the beginning of Francis' reign as pope. The reader gets a flavour for the humility of the current Bishop of Rome, and the almost universally high esteem in which he is held.

Pope Francis reveres his predecessors, both immediate (Benedict) and penultimate (John Paul). There is a moving passage in which we hear Cardinal Bergoglio (Francis) describe seeing Blessed John Paul in prayer: "And the time drifted away, and I began to imagine the young priest, the seminarian, the poet, the worker, the child from Wadowice ... in the same position in which knelt at that moment, reciting Ave Maria after Ave Maria. His witness struck me."

I cannot recommend Dr Moynihan's book highly enough, for the insight it gives into the mind and heart of our Holy Father, and for the moving recapitulation of those immensely grace-filled first few weeks of the current pontificate. Bravo!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great introduction to our new Holy Father. The book narrates the first days of his pontificate and gives a lot of background on his life. Helps to understand the Pope's vision for the Church.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! Very happy with my purchase
Love it! Very happy with my purchase!
Published 9 days ago by foxxyfisher23
5.0 out of 5 stars very spiritual and how devoted they are to do good and transmit it...
Well, very spiritual and how devoted they are to do good and transmit it including Benedict XVI. Also the importance of who and where the Blessed Virgin Mother stands since the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by zahira olga melendez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent and inspiring reading.
Published 4 months ago by Carlos A. Hermida
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pope Francis Primer
After the election of Pope Francis, I (like much of the world) had no idea who this man was. While people speculated, a small number of books came out to help with our... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kim
4.0 out of 5 stars Pray for Me is a great introduction to Pope Francis and his life
Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope of the Americas by Robert Moynihan

This book was provided to me free of charge as part of the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by K. Marie Frances
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiritual treat
I admire the newly appointed Pope and was anxious to learn more about him. This book covered his life and journey to the papacy and his first 6 months in office. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Marilyn Gibbs
4.0 out of 5 stars Answers many questions you didn't even know you had about Pope Francis
Pray For Me is a unique opportunity to get to know Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now and forever to be known as Pope Francis. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Erika
5.0 out of 5 stars Read and re-read!
Inspirational and thought provoking! Our Pope has common sense ways to improve our world. Read and reflect on what is being presented:)
Published 11 months ago by Jeanne R. Thoms
5.0 out of 5 stars Important chronicle of Pope Francis
The first words of newly elected Pope Francis is the title. The author is a dedicated
and prayerful writer relating this new pontificate. I highly recommend it.
Published 11 months ago by defender of life
5.0 out of 5 stars Pope Francis
Our Pope is a man of God and Humanity . I love him, what he stands for in the world and walks the walk and talks the talk!
Published 11 months ago by jeanette
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