10 Years of Francis: He is my pope too

Fr. Patrick Mulemi, of Lusaka, Zambia, is the first Jesuit offering his reflections on the Francis Papacy in our “10 Years of Francis” series.

It is 13 March 2013. I am parish priest in Matero, a sprawling poor neighborhood of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. More than 10,000 kilometers away in Rome, the cardinals are in conclave.

I have just celebrated evening Mass and I am chatting away with parishioners as they are exiting the church. Suddenly someone shouts, “we have a new pope!” I rush to the presbytery, turn on the television, and... “he is a Jesuit!” A Jesuit??? What does it mean for the Church and the Society of Jesus? I didn't see it coming.

He has chosen the name Francis, it is announced. My first thought is “The Poor Man of Assisi”. And I am right. Perhaps that’s because I am living and working in a poor neighborhood. After Mass the next day, after I had mentioned “Francis our Pope” for the first time in the Eucharistic prayer, an elderly woman approached me after Mass and smiling said to me, “He is my pope too.” I knew at that time that the Holy Spirit had spoken.

I’d later meet Pope Francis on a number of occasions when I worked in Rome. A Jesuit, with a Franciscan name, in a Dominican habit. A pope for everyone. God’s gift to the Church. He is the Pope the Church needed at this time.

Patrick Mulemi, SJ
Lusaka - Zambia

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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