Jesuit priest and Vatican Radio commentator Father Guillermo Ortiz recounted to CNA knowing then-Cardinal Jorge Bergolio when he was still provincial superior of the Jesuits in Argentina, as well as his own personal introduction to the young man.
“When I was living in Buenos Aires,” he recalled, “I met this guy. He listened to me on the radio and since he was a mailman, he knew the address of my office and he began seeking me out to talk about spiritual questions. He was getting out of drugs thanks to prayer, and he always asked for spiritual guidance.”
After a while, however, the young man stopped coming to visit, and Fr. Ortiz began to worry, until one day he ran across him on the street and found that he had completely recovered.
“Do you know who I have been with, Father? Cardinal Bergoglio!” the young man said. “I went by the chancery and I left a note with my name and number saying I wanted to speak with him, and the next Saturday I was in my room resting and my father knocked on the door.”
“I said, 'Don’t knock, this is my day off and I want to sleep a little bit more!' But my father said, 'No, you can’t right now, the cardinal is on the phone,'” he remembered.
“The cardinal himself had called to tell him when he could meet,” Fr. Ortiz said. “Without any calendar, he answered him immediately! These things are wonderful and one can only ask, 'How did he find the time?'”
Fr. Ortiz said the young mailman eventually overcame his addition through prayer and spiritual direction from priests and in this case from Cardinal Bergoglio, who helped him “continue his struggle against drugs.”
What he most admired about the cardinal was his “closeness to the people. He didn’t have any boundaries. Even as bishop and as cardinal he didn’t have a secretary and he called people himself and met with everyone that he could,” Fr. Ortiz said.
Fr. Ortiz is currently the director of Vatican Radio's Spanish-language broadcast. Since the election of Pope Francis, he has spoken with the pontiff on several occasions.
According to an Argentine priest, Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires helped save a young mailman from the abyss of drug addiction and became his spiritual father.
Church in Latin America, Pope Francis