Catholic leaders reflect on Pope Francis' 5-year anniversary

Pope Francis at the general audience in St Peters Square on January 31 2018 Credit Daniel Ibanez CNA Pope Francis at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, Jan. 31, 2018. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

March 13, 2018 marks the 5-year anniversary of Pope Francis' election as Bishop of Rome. In recognition of the anniversary, CNA asked Catholic leaders around the US for their reflections on the past five years and their thoughts on what the coming years might hold. Here is what they said:

Prayers and congratulations to Pope Francis on the 5th anniversary of his election to the throne of St. Peter. Pope Francis, by his words and his deeds, is calling us to a deeper friendship with Jesus and to a renewed commitment to missionary discipleship. His profound love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church, and his filial devotion to her, reminds us of the importance we all have to cultivate a deeper love and fidelity to Holy Mother Church. Ad multos annos.
-Bishop James Conley of Lincoln

Over the past five years, we have all been blessed by the focus and attention Pope Francis has given to the crucial issues of our time such as refugees and migrants, and stewarding our resources in Laudato Si. His call, to focus on the poor and to go out into the world, has been truly motivational. Long may his voice continue to speak out for the poor and oppressed in our world.
-Sean Callahan, president and CEO, Catholic Relief Services

I am delighted that Pope Francis has signaled loud and clear to the world the Catholic Church's option for the poor and the immigrant. I hope the coming years will also reveal a noticeable movement forward on incorporating more women into church leadership and helping especially the poorer to achieve marital stability and permanence.
-Helen Alvare, chair, Catholic Women's Forum

I thank God every day for the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. I hope that in the next five years of Francis's papacy we keep in mind that the unity of the Church is entrusted to the pastoral care of the pope and the bishops in communion with him.
-John Garvey, president, The Catholic University of America

If I could sum up the first 5 years of Pope Francis' vision for the Church, I would do it with one word 'integrity' - Better integrating the mind with the heart, better integrating humanity with our mission to be stewards of creation. My hope for the next five years is the fulfillment of this desire. A Magisterium united to the laity and a Church shepherding God's creation through the Joy of the Gospel. I am grateful to Pope Francis for giving the Church and the world the Year of Mercy. I believe the Church continues to unpack the graces from that momentous season. May the words of the 266th vicar of Christ continue to resound throughout the whole world: God is always waiting for us. He never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence and hope - always!
– Martha Reichert, president, ENDOW

"I offer prayerful best wishes to Pope Francis as he marks the 5th anniversary of his Petrine ministry. I've admired and respected his keen focus on service to the poor since we first met as young bishops delegated to the 1997 Special Assembly for the Americas … He's repeatedly challenged us to bear witness to Christ through concrete action-by serving the poor, by helping immigrants, by preserving families, and by protecting the sanctity of life. It's the kind of challenge we can and should answer with a hearty yes each day. May God bless Pope Francis and may the Holy Spirit grant him wisdom as shepherd of the Universal Church."
-Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia [excerpted from a public statement]

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