In a statement released on the occasion of the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate, US bishops praised the pontiff for his example, and encouraged the faithful to offer continued prayers on his behalf.
“The members of the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have noted with thanksgiving the first anniversary of the election of His Holiness Pope Francis as the 266th successor of the Apostle Peter,” the bishops expressed in their March 11 statement.
Currently gathered in Washington D.C. for their annual March meeting, the USCCB observed how during his first year “Pope Francis has consistently called upon Catholics to look again at the fundamental values of the Gospel.”
“He has encouraged us to be a Church of the poor and for the poor, reaching out to the marginalized and being present to those on the periphery of society.”
Continuing, they also highlighted how the Pope “has set an example by choosing a personal simplicity of life, by washing the feet of prisoners, and by taking into his hands and kissing the badly disfigured.”
Referring to the ongoing process of reform within the Church, the bishops emphasized how the pontiff has also “set in motion a process that will lead to the reshaping of the Roman Curia in a way that will enhance the effectiveness of his ministry and better serve the needs of the Church in our present day.”
“In this way the Holy Father has brought to light new dimensions of the Petrine Ministry and added new life to the office he holds,” they observed.
“His constant outreach to the alienated, his emphasis on mercy and his sheer humanity have served as an inspiration not only to Catholics but also to other Christians and people of good will around the globe.”
Bringing their letter to a close, the bishops invited “the prayers of all the faithful” for the Pope in light of his anniversary, encouraging them to ask “that Christ our Lord will bless Pope Francis and grant him many years of fruitful ministry as Bishop of Rome” and “as the Servant of the Servants of God.”