Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 17 September |
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

The Top 6 Most Inspiring Moments of Francis’ Papacy – So Far

Palazzo Chigi

Brantly Millegan - published on 11/12/13

If actions speak louder than words, and a picture is worth a thousand of them, then Pope Francis is reaching the world in some of the most effective ways possible.

Actions speak louder than words, and a picture is worth a thousand of them: two principles that have so far defined Pope Francis’ most effective messages to the world. Though he has already released an encyclical and is giving public speeches just about every day, it’s been his simple, personal gestures that keep making the biggest impact.

Here are six of the most impactful moments so far from Pope Francis’ history-making eight month papacy (in no particular order):

1) Hosted, greeted, and embraced hundreds of persons with disabilities at the Vatican

Just a few days ago, Pope Francis hosted about six-hundred persons with disabilities in a special ceremony at the Vatican. According to the AP story, he “lamented that society tends to ‘hide physical fragility’ and reject the disabled. He encouraged those with physical disabilities to banish any feelings of shame, and become ‘protagonists’ in society as well as the Catholic church.” He then greeted each participant one-by-one, embracing them and making conversation as he went.

2) Publicly embraced and kissed a severely disfigured man

Last Wednesday, Pope Francis was departing St. Peter’s Square in his popemobile after a general audience when a man with a severely disfigured face caught his eye. He stopped his vehicle, got down, and greeted him. Francis embraced and kissed the man on his forehead and then laid his hands on him while he prayed. You've probably already seen it, because photos from the encounter went viral.

3) Little boy wandered up to papal stage, Pope Francis let him sit in his chair

At the end of October, the Vatican hosted a special pilgrimage for families for the Year of Faith. During one of the events, a small boy somehow got through security and wandered on to the stage to Pope Francis. Francis just smiled and let the boy stay. And in an image that will go down in history, when it came time for Pope Francis to stand up and give an address, the boy sat in Francis’ chair.

4) Brought young man with down syndrome up into his popemobile

This last summer, Pope Francis greeted a young man with down syndrome in St. Peter’s Square and brought him up into the popemobile. While tens of thousands looked on, Francis let the young man spin around in his chair. A CBS story reports: “The boy's father, Celestino di Tullio, [said] he choked up when Francis approached his son: ‘The pope saw him, embraced him. Then Alberto pointed to the car, and so he brought him up!’”

5) Called, promised unwed mother he would baptize her child

Pope Francis has become “the Calling Pope”. He receives thousands of letters each day, many of whom he not only looks at personally, but responds to personally. Sometimes he sends a letter back, but a number of times he’s simply picked up the phone and called the person.

In one such example, he called a woman who was pregnant with the child of a man married to someone else. She said she didn’t know the man was married to someone else, but that upon telling him about the pregnancy, he refused to support her and requested she abort the child. She chose to keep the child, but now felt scared and alone. Pope Francis told her he’d personally baptize her child and be a “spiritual father” to him or her.

6) Spent Holy Thursday in prison and washed the feet of prisoners

Normally Holy Thursday services are held in the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica. But last spring, Pope Francis broke with custom and instead celebrated Holy Thursday mass in a local prison. And instead of washing the feet of priests, he washed the feet of prisoners, including women and non-Christians.

What did I miss? What have been your favorite moments of Francis’ papacy so far

Tags:
LovePope FrancisPovertyPracticing Mercy

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Top 10
1
CELEBRITIES
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
2
communion
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
3
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
4
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
5
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
6
CROSS
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.