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Pope Francis Fast Facts

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  • April 09 2013
CNS photo/Paul Haring

OUR SUNDAY VISITOR'S COVERAGE: Prayer for Pope Francis | OSV President: The lessons of conclave 2013 | Papal Transition 2013 News Round-Up

On March 13, 2013, the College of Cardinals in the conclave elected Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Bergoglio chose the name Pope Francis. He is both humble and pastoral but also unwavering in his teaching. His approach is, as Dr. Matthew Bunson points out, “simplicity with a purpose: to clear away everything else so that the Church can proclaim Jesus Christ to the world.”

Fast Facts

Basic Information
Name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Date of birth: Dec. 17, 1936
Birthplace: Flores neighborhood of Buenos Aires
Parents: Mario Bergoglio (railway worker) and Regina Sivori

Chemistry degree from University of Buenos Aires
Philosophy degree from the Colegio Máximo de San José Centro Loyola
Philosophy licentiate and doctorate in theology in Germany

Papal Information
Name: Pope Francis
265th successor of St. Peter
Motto: "Miserando Atque Eligendo" (Because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him)
For images of the papal ring and coat of arms, see below.

From Jorge to Francis
1958: Entered Jesuit novitiate
Dec. 13, 1969: Ordained a priest
April 22, 1973: Took final vows
1973-1979: Served as Jesuit provincial of Argentina
1980: Named rector of seminary in San Miguel
May 20, 1992: Appointed by Pope John Paul II as an auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires and titular bishop of Auca
June 27, 1992: Ordained a bishop
June 3, 1997: Named a coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires
Feb. 28, 1998: Acceded to the see after death of Cardinal Quarracino
Feb. 21, 2001: Appointed by Pope John Paul II to College of Cardinals
March 13, 2013: Elected pope by College of Cardinals

Meditaciones para religiosos, 1982 (“Meditations for Religious”)
Reflexiones sobre la vida apostólica, 1986 (“Reflections on the Apostolic Life”)
Reflexiones de esperanza, 1992 (“Reflections of Hope”)
Sobre el cielo y la tierra*, 2011 (“On Heaven and Earth”) *English version out May 2013

Fun Facts

Likes soccer and doing the tango
Lived in a simple apartment, cooked his own meals and took the bus and subway as an archbishop
Always asked to be called Father Jorge
Strong devotion to Mary
His right lung was partially removed
Speaks Spanish, Italian, English, French and German

Pope Francis is the first pope ...

  • To take the name Francis
  • From Argentina
  • From South America
  • From Southern & Western Hemispheres
  • Elected from the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
  • To be non-European since 731

Read a more detailed biography by Dr. Matthew Bunson, and order your copy of Pope Francis today! View all Pope Francis products.

Papal coat of arms (CNS) Papal ring (CNS) Sobre el cielo y la tierra
(On heaven and earth), 2011

Prayer for Pope Francis

O Lord, guide Pope Francis in the way of Jesus. May the Gospel inspire him and may truth be his guiding force. Give him wisdom, zeal and the gift of governance as he leads the Church on the journey to the Kingdom. Amen.


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