So as you all may have heard Pope Francis has been named person of the year by Time Magazine. It’s no surprise to me, I can’t think of another person who has come close to bringing the kind of hope and new life to the world this year. It’s no secret that I love Pope Francis. He was the cardinal I was rooting for after Benedict XVI resigned this year, and he has exceeded all my expectations in the months that have followed. He is a man that I am happy to call my Papa.
When I think back at this year I am in awe. I entered the Church on Easter 2013 just a few months ago and only days after the election of Francis. I am already getting the sense that I was one of the first fruits of a new flood of “converts.” Every day I am receiving messages from people all over the world telling me how inspired they are with this man, and more than a few have begun the process of entering the Church as result of his palpable heart for Jesus and this world.
Francis has inspired me, personally, in so many ways. He has shown great courage, great, love, and great humility. He is honestly one of the greatest examples of what being a Christian looks like I have ever encountered. I have had to change my whole life since becoming Catholic. I have struggled to find a new identity, no longer as a pastor but as a lay person. I have struggled to keep my family fed and clothed. I have struggled to keep up with the mounting challenges in my life. Francis has offered me words of such great hope this year. He has helped remind me over and over of why I joined the Church and I am so grateful that I have been blessed enough to enter the Church at such a time of hope.
Congratulations on this great honor, Holy Father, and even more I want to say thank you. You have been my personal “Person of the Year.” I pray that like you, I may be an image of Jesus to those I encounter.