A fascinating tidbit about the pope’s early life, from CNS:
In addition to having worked sweeping floors and running tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager, Pope Francis revealed he also used to work as a bouncer.
No longer kicking troublemakers out of clubs, he has discovered the secret to bringing people back, this time, into the church, according to the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, Dec. 2.
The pope spent four hours at a parish visit of the church of San Cirillo Alessandrino in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome Dec. 1. He chatted informally with a large number of parishioners before and after celebrating Mass.
He told one group that when he was young, he worked as a bouncer, and that his work later in life, teaching literature and psychology, taught him how to get people back into the church.
He said it’s enough to be a witness of hope and, as St. Peter said, “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.”
Recounting how he discovered his vocation to the priesthood after confession with a priest he had never met before, the pope joked it was common knowledge that the best confessors are priests the penitent does not know and priests who are deaf……He admitted feeling a bit of stage fright as pope and that he felt a little nervous celebrating his first Mass after being elected pontiff.
“Was I anxious? A little, yes, but everyone was nice. But it’s true, having a lot of people in front of you is a bit scary.”
But now, “Thank God I feel really good. The Lord helped me be a priest, to be a bishop and now to be the pope.”
Pope Francis also gave a bit of advice, saying it was important to be nice and good and to be a good example for others.
When asked how to manage that, the pope said “pray all the time, don’t speak badly of others because gossip destroys friendships, and always greet people nicely, always with a smile,” he said.
Sometimes even priests can be irritable so they need to work extra hard at being “meek, amiable and good.” That is why it is so important people “pray a lot for priests,” he added.
There’s much more. Read it all.