The Vatican marks the day a pontificate began as a holiday, thus, March 19, 2013 was the day Francis’ papacy began, so today is a holiday. March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, is always Father’s Day in Italy – what a lovely day to celebrate fatherhood!

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews)

On March 19, 2013, the Solemnity of St Joseph, Pope Francis celebrated Mass inaugurating his pontificate. Since then, the 81-year old pontiff has certainly left his mark on the Church. The statistics put together by the Holy See Press Office (see below) give us but an outline of Pope Francis’ papacy. (photo vaticannews)

In the footsteps of John Paul II and Benedict XVI

Pope Francis has demonstrated that he is continuing in the footsteps of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The themes of both synods – the family and young people – were very dear to John Paul II. And both Encyclicals have connections with Benedict XVI. The first, Lumen Fidei, is based on a manuscript begun by Pope Benedict and concludes his Encyclicals on Faith, Hope and Charity. The second, Laudato Si not only cites Pope Benedict numerous times, but also treats a recurring theme from Pope Benedict’s pontificate.

Pope Francis’ Signature

But Pope Francis is also leaving his own mark on the papacy, one which is rooted in his formation and pastoral experience in Argentina. The creation of a special Council of Cardinals to assist him in the reform of the Roman Curia is a concrete example of the collegiality that Pope Francis embraces.

Perhaps most remarkable of all is the Pope’s affable and affectionate personality that shines through every public and personal encounter with him. Francis is a Pope who enters into the everyday lives of people with phone calls and letters, with “Good evening,” “enjoy your lunch,” and “please don’t forget to pray for me.”

Statistics released by the Holy See Press Office:

Lumen fidei (20 June 2013)
Laudato si’ (24 May 2015

Apostolic Exhortations
Evangelii gaudium (24 November 2013)
Amoris laetitia (19 March 2016)

Misericordiae vultus (11 April 2015)

Motu Proprios
3 in 2013
2 in 2014
4 in 2015
9 in 2016
4 in 2017
1 in 2018

General audiences 219

Themes of the Wednesday Catechesis
Profession of Faith
The Sacraments
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Church
The Family
Christian hope
The Holy Mass

Angelus/Regina Coeli 286

International trips: 22
Pope Francis has traveled a total of 250,000km visiting: Brasil, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, South Korea, Albania, the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Turkey, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Cuba, the United States, Kenya, Uganda, Central African Republic, Mexico, Greece, Armenia, Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Chile, Peru

Trips within Italy: 18

Pastoral visits to the parishes of Rome: 16

III Extraordinary Synod on the Family (5-19 October 2014)
XIV Ordinary Synod on the Family (4-25 October 2015)
XVI Ordinary Synod on Youth (3-18 October 2018)
Special Synod on the Amazon (October 2019)

Special Years
Year of Consecrated Life (29 November 2014–2 February 2016)
Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy (8 December 2015–20 November 2016)

Special Months
Extraordinary Missionary month (October 2019)

World Days
World Day of fasting and prayer for Peace I: Syria (7 September 2013)
24 Hours for the Lord a Friday in Lent (inaugurated in 2014)
World day of prayer for creation: 1 September (inaugurated in 2015)
World day of the poor: 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (inaugurated in 2017)
Sunday of the Word: One Sunday during the Liturgical Year (inaugurated in 2017)
World Day of Migrants and Refugees: Second Sunday of September (inaugurated 14 January 2018)
World day of prayer and fasting for peace II: South Sudan, Congo and Syria (23 February 2018)

World Youth Days
28th World Day in Rio de Janeiro: 23-28 July 2013
31st World Day in Krakow: 26-31 July 2016
34th World Day in Panama: 22-27 January 2019

Consistories for the creation of Cardinals
Pope Francis has created a total of 61 cardinals. Of these, 49 are electors and 12 are non-electors (one of whom has subsequently died)
19 Cardinals created on 22 February 2014
20 Cardinals created on 14 February 2015
17 Cardinals created on 19 November 2016
5 Cardinals created on 28 June 2017

Pope Francis has canonized a total of 880 saints, 800 of whom are the Martyrs of Otranto
9 canonization ceremonies in the Vatican
3 canonizations ceremonies outside of the Vatican: United States, Sri Lanka, Portugal
5 canonizations equipollent



It was a cool and windy morning Sunday when tens of thousands of us gathered in St. Peter’s Square and the neighboring Pius XII Square to pray the Angelus with Pope Francis and wish him a Happy Anniversary – the third anniversary of his election to the papacy.

As I walked around the left hand colonnade to reach the area where security was screening people, I saw massive numbers of uniformed police – more in the square and I could only imagine the same numbers around the right hand colonnade. I did not make it in time to go through security so I stayed in Pius XII Square, which was jammed, as you see in these photos.



An Italian youth group sang their hearts out on the edge of the square, singing many songs the crowd knew as well.


Huge cheers went up when Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study. We listened as he reflected on the day’s Gospel and then we joined him in the Marian prayer. Afterwards he greeted many groups of faithful present in the square and then announced that he had a gift for us – a small, pocketsize Gospel of St. Luke, which has been called “the Gospel of mercy.”


He urged us to “read it every day. This way, the mercy of the Father will dwell in your heart and you will bring it to everyone you meet.” He also announced that the people handing out the small booklets were volunteers from the ‘Santa Marta’ pediatric dispensary in the Vatican and a number of grandparents. “How deserving are grandfathers and grandmothers who pass on the faith to their grandchildren,” said Francis, again to applause.


He told us that on page 123 we would find a list of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy at the back. “It would be nice if you learned them by heart. This way, it would be easier to perform them. I urge you to take this Gospel because the mercy of God can work for you.”


The Pope then mentioned the huge numbers of people standing in the Pius XII Square and noted that they “could not get into St. Peter’s Square. They too will receive the Gospel.”


Actually that did not happen. The Gospels were distributed in the center of St. Peter’s Square, near the obelisk and never made it out to where we were standing. I had hoped to get a copy for a young friend who is interested in the Church and has a lot of questions for me. The last time such booklets were given out – the Gospel of Matthew – I gave him a copy and he was delighted and read it cover to cover.

Last evening at 6, I went to St. Peter’s Square to pray the rosary with the priests and seminarians of the North American College with the specific intention of praying for the Holy Father on his anniversary.