In Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas, author Robert Moynihan offers the reader an inside look at the events of the days and weeks after Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerged on the balcony overlooking St. Peters Square as Pope Francis. The book is divided into three parts and includes a biographical section and a section of various topics with Pope Francis’ views on each.
The most enjoyable section of the book for me was the first (not to detract from the other sections at all it was simply my favorite). This section gives the reader a behind the scenes look into the events transpiring in Rome beginning with the moments just before we heard the words “Habemus Papam!” (We have a pope!) The chapters of this section are laid out in a journalistic format, as Robert states, beginning with Pope Francis’ first moments on the balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13, 2013 up to the palm Sunday Mass on March 24. The events are detailed in a manner that only someone “on the ground” could present. Robert was present for all of this and managed to assemble this book for publication and release a mere 6 weeks after the events transpired. This in itself is a truly incredible feat.
Events chronicled within this section include Pope Francis’ first mass and homily, first meetings with cardinals and journalists, the inaugural mass of the pope, receiving of foreign delegates and ending with the Palm Sunday Mass of 2013. Each chapter was well detailed including what Pope Francis said and did on a nearly day- by-day basis during this time period. This first section of the book would serve well for those curious about these historical events.
The second section of the book offers the reader a brief but informative 40 page biography of Pope Francis. This covers from his childhood years, ordination to the priesthood, appointment as Bishop, appointment as Cardinal and his election to the Pontificate. Although not a very large section, it was well covered and provided a good overview of the life of our current pope. One feature in this section that really caught my interest was titled Words of Inspiration. In 2 pages Robert details for the reader, book recommendations Pope Francis has made to those who placed themselves under his spiritual direction over the years. Lastly in this section five spiritual guides of Pope Francis are covered (Jonah, Mary, Ignatius of Loyola, Don Luigi Giussani and Francis of Assisi) as evidenced through his various writings and conversations through the years.
The third and final section of the book covers various topics and the view of Pope Francis on each throughout his life. The various topics covered include creation, humanity, the Church, faith, hope, love and eternal life. This section will serve nicely as a source of meditation on these subjects and provide the reader with a better understanding of where Pope Francis stands on these issues.
Robert Moynihan has provided everyone a great service. He has opened up the window into a moment of time that the average person was unable to be a witness to. This book can be reread at any time if someone wants to reflect upon those weeks that transpired prior to Easter 2013. The additional biography and reflections on topics to me were just an added bonus making this book that much better.
I received a copy of this book for this review from Image Books.