A year of Pope Francis

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Pope Francis marked his first anniversary as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday by taking to Twitter to tweet, “Please pray for me.”

On March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina became the first Pope from both a Latin American and Jesuit background.

“He’s really been a wonderful part of our church and wonderful for the world to experience, I think, he’s been someone the world needs,” said Bishop Michael Bransfield with the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston of the Pope Francis’ first year.

“His relationship to God, for all believing people, I think, has to be such an encouragement to those who have the faith.  Whatever religion you believe, he’s putting out a very positive image, a very good image of the human race within believing people.”

Pope Francis is the first non-European pontiff to be selected in 1,300 years.  He has become an international star, of sorts, during the past 12 months.  Pope Francis was featured on the cover of “Rolling Stone” earlier this year.  “Time Magazine” named him “Man of the Year.”

Bishop Bransfield said Pope Francis seems to be everywhere.  “Even though he’s physically a long way off, he’s not personally a long way off because the media has been able to portray him right into people’s homes,” he said.

His supporters have lauded Pope Francis’ reformist agenda within the Vatican and his efforts to improve the Catholic Church’s overall image.  He has continually advocated for a “more humble” church.

Bransfield said something Pope Francis said stays with him.  “Once, he said, ‘The Lord never tires of forgiving.’  He said, ‘It’s just that we get tired of asking.'”

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