RMG – The Pope's prayer 50 years ago: "I believe in the loving gaze of God that came forth to invite me to follow Him"

13 December 2019

(ANS - Rome) - 50 years have gone by. It was December 13, 1969, just four days before his 33rd birthday, when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained a priest. His vocation dates back to 21 September 1953, the Feast of St. Matthew. In the his memories of this priest, today Pope Francis, the prayer he wrote for that memorable day has remained impressed upon him: "I believe that in the story, which was pierced through by the gaze of God's love, on the day of spring, September 21, He came forth to invite me to follow Him ... And I hope in the surprise of every day, in which love and strength, betrayal and sin manifest themselves, that they will always accompany me until that final encounter with that marvellous face that I do not know how it is, which constantly escapes me, but which I want to know and love."

According to the book "The Jesuit: conversations with Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio", Pope Francis discovered his vocation on the morning of September 21, when students' day is traditionally celebrated in Argentina: he had decided to pass by the church, where he met Father Duarte, a priest he had never seen before, but who transmitted a sense of great spirituality to him. He asked to be confessed, and at that moment he felt in his heart the call to become a priest: "It was the amazement of meeting someone who is waiting for you," he narrated later.

God's summons to this vocation had no immediate consequences. For some years, he continued to work in a bromatological analysis laboratory. At the age of twenty, he suddenly fell ill with pneumonia. In that difficult moment, among the many words of circumstance, his sister made him understand the meaning of that suffering: "You are imitating Jesus."

Soon after, he decided to enter the diocesan seminary of Buenos Aires. And after a few more months, on 11 March 1958, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. Jorge Mario's decision was not immediately well-received in the family: his father was happy, his mother much less, and for a long time missed his daily company. The happiest was his grandmother, who said, "Well, if God calls you, may you be blessed."

To celebrate this important anniversary, last November the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican issued two stamps reproducing two paintings by the Spanish painter Raúl Berzosa: in the first, a portrait of the young Bergoglio before the church "San José" of the Flores district, where he felt his vocation and as Pope; in the second he is represented as Pope before the basilica of St. Peter and with the Christ of Mercy next to him.

Bergoglio's life cannot be understood without the call of God. "I am Jorge Bergoglio, priest. And I like being a priest," is the powerful answer he offers today, while he thanks God for these 50 years. 


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

This site also uses third-party cookies to improve user experience and for statistical purposes. By scrolling through this page or by clicking on any of its elements, you consent to the use of cookies. To learn more or to opt out, click "Further Information".