Responding to an invitation for a diocesan anniversary in 2025, Pope Francis jokes that it will be the next pope to do it.
Just one verse each day.
By 2025, a successor of Pope Francis will be on the Throne of Peter and his name could be Pope John XXIV, implied Francis himself in a light-hearted quip to the bishop of Ragusa, Italy.
Bishop Giuseppe La Placa explained the Pope’s playful comment that he gave in response to the bishop’s invitation to come to Ragusa in 2025 for the 75th anniversary of the founding of the diocese.
The bishop told the Ansa agency, “The Holy Father made a smile and a nod of assent and with a joke answered me by saying that in 2025 it will be John XXIV to make that visit.”
Not anytime soon
At the beginning of September, Pope Francis told a Spanish radio station that his health is good, following his colon surgery in early July. “It didn’t even cross my mind [to resign],” the Pope said.
However, the Pope has also made clear that he keeps in mind that life is short, and that we have to be prepared for our death. He turns 85 in December. Already in 2014, returning from South Korea, he joked with journalists that in two or three years, he’d be “off to the house of the Father.”
As to the name the next pope might choose, it will be entirely up to him. If he were to take John XXIV, he would be following in the footsteps of St. John XXIII who started the Second Vatican Council and is known as the Good Pope.
John XXIIII was canonized by Pope Francis in 2014, along with St. John Paul II. His feast day is not the day of his death, as is often the case, but October 11, the day he opened Vatican II.
Pope Francis broke recent traditions to choose an entirely new name that has never been used by a pope before. This was the first time this has happened since the 10th century. He said that the name came to him while a cardinal embraced him immediately after his election.
[The cardinal embraced me and said], ‘Don’t forget the poor’ … and that struck me … the poor … Immediately I thought of St Francis of Assisi. Francis was a man of peace, a man of poverty, a man who loved and protected creation.
If someone were to pick Francis again, he would be Francis II.
Undoer of Knots
Bishop La Placa’s conversation with the Pope came during a private audience on September 27. He also reported that the visit impressed on him the Holy Father’s “paternal soul and apostolic spirit.”
The bishop presented a gift to the Pope, thanks to artist Giovanni Scalambrieri, who accompanied him. The artist gave Francis a bronze statue he made of Our Lady Undoer of Knots. The piece is about 2 feet tall and made with a wax technique.
Our Lady Under of Knots is celebrated on September 26, and is one of the Pope’s favorite advocations to Our Lady.