The Holy Father attends the IEC

09 July 2021
It’s really unique when the Holy Father attends in person an Eucharistic Congress. Pope Francis celebrates the Closing Mass of the World Meeting to be held in Heroes’ Square on 12 September. Let’s get to know the Holy Father’s exceptional life path!

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church was born in 1936 in Argentina to a family of Italian origin. He lived the life of an ordinary young guy, and was in love with a girl working for the Actio Catholica. In September 1953, he planned to do what his fellow students would do on their day off from school on the feast of St. Matthew. He was about to go out dancing with his girlfriend. On his way to meet up with her Jorge passed by the San José de Flores parish church, and felt compelled to enter. There he encountered Father Duarte. The spirituality that was radiating from the Father encouraged him to go to confession, meanwhile of which he discovered that his vocation was to be a friar or a priest. Much later he recalled this experience: “Something extraordinary happened to me during this confession. I don’t know exactly what it was, but it was something that has just changed my life. I would say as if there was a surprise while closing my eyes… It was the experience of encounter and amazement, and the realization that someone was waiting for me. From this moment on God has become for me the One and only, always being ahead of me. We are looking for Him, but actually He is the one looking for us at first. Man desires to meet Him, still He is ahead of us, and He comes to us.”

Four years passed after this call until he enlisted himself to the seminary. He was 21 years old, when he fell severely sick of pneumonia, and his right lung had to be partially removed surgically. He suffered great pain and it was Sister Dolores helping him to get over and to fight for survival. The nun told him: “Now you are following Jesus.” The nun’s words fundamentally changed Jorge’s thinking. Later on when he was once talking about this period of his life, he said: “Our vocation is the completeness and happiness, and our barrier in looking for these is the pain itself. Thus, the meaning of pain is truly grasped by man through the pain of Jesus Christ, the God who has become a man.” The key to overcoming the pain is: “Think of the Cross as the seed of pain. Any attempt to relieve the pain can be successful partially only, if it is not based on transcendence. The ability to fully understand and experience the pain is a gift already. To be more precise: pain is the gift of a complete life.”

Should you like to attend the Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Heroes’ Square, please consult our website for registration to ensure your seat!



IEC Secretariat