BUENOS AIRES – Argentine Catholics celebrated Monday a number of Masses in honor of the four-year pontificate of Pope Francis and to acknowledge his social work in the fight against poverty.
Attending Mass this Monday at the Basilica of St. Francis in Buenos Aires were members of various social organizations who came to pray for their compatriot and the work he is doing, and that he might continue with “the reforms he has begun in the church to aid the very poor,” Ramon Francisco Lopez, spokesman for the Francis Missionary Movement, told EFE.
“Francis is a pope who looks down, who looks to the poor, to the refugees, to those most in need, to those hardest hit by the world’s many crises,” Lopez said.
The Mass was officiated by Brother Jorge Alberto Bender, who spoke of the two encyclicals written by Pope Francis inviting Catholics to spread the gospel and to care for the earth.
Bender, who was a student of Jorge Bergoglio before the latter became pope, said he was impressed by Francis “admitting his fragility” in tackling the mission before him, and recalled that Francis who sees himself as an ordinary man who does what he can but does it under God.
Attending the Mass were representatives of various social organizations who admire the pope’s “forceful” message, according to Esteban Castro, secretary general of the Workers’ Confederation of the Popular Economy (CTEP), one of the organizations often seen demonstrating in the streets of Buenos Aires demanding that measures be taken to alleviate poverty.
“What they hand us in this system is insupportable, the poor can’t bear it – workers of the popular economy should have the same rights as the rest of the working class,” Castro said.
In honor of Francis’s fourth year as pontiff, the cathedral in Buenos Aires dedicated Monday all of its Masses of Thanksgiving to the work being done by Bergoglio as head of the Vatican, the Argentine Catholic News Agency said.
Meanwhile parishes around the country have planned hymn concerts and Masses in honor of the Buenos Aires native born in 1936, who was elected pope after 15 years as archbishop of Buenos Aires.