LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ‘NIEDZIELA’
A lot of joyful pages are in the current edition of our weekly. For, it has been prepared for the third Sunday of Advent – called Sunday ‘gaudete’, that is, ‘Sunday of joy’. It is worth reminding that Pope Paul VI devoted his apostolic exhortation of 1975 entitled ‘Gaudete in Domino; just to Christian joy, in which we read: ‘We should develop our skill of being joyful, being happy and using various human joys which God gives us during our earthly pilgrimage’.
The current ‘Niedziela’ sends expressions of cordial joy to Holy Father Francis on the occassion of his 80th birthday. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the later pope Francis, was born on 17 December 1936 at 9 p.m. in Buenos Aires. The anniversary of his birthday usually encourages us to memories reaching back to the beginnings which in reference to pope Francis are presented in many interviews by, among the others, his sister Maria Elena.
She said in an interview for the Italian journal ‘La Repubblica’: ‘Before I was born, my mum’s child had died. I was thirteen when our dad Mario died from heart attack. But until then, and it was in 1959, we had been a happy family. I remember holiness of Sunday: first we used to go to the Holy Mass to the church in San Jose, then there were very long lunch times, till the late afternoon. Unending, excellent lunches with five, six, and even seven dishes. And with sweets. We were poor, but with great dignity and always being faithful to what was Italian tradition for us’. We must know that mum of pope Francis got paralyzed after giving birth to her fifth child and that his grandma Amalia contributed a lot to his upbringing.
Surely, it was at his home where the unusual simplicity of pope Francis and his extraordinary sensitivity to other people was formed. We have had another moving example of it recently. This is a letter which the Holy Father sent to severely ill 10-year-old Paolina, a month before her death. The letter was read out at the funeral of the Italian girl on 23 November this year. The Holy Father wrote: ‘Dear Paolino, Your photos are on my desk, because in Your real eyes I can see the light of good and innocence. Thanks you for sending them to me. Please, read this letter together with You mum. The kiss which she will give you, is also the kiss from the pope. I join my hands with yours and with the hands of all those who are praying for you now. In this way we are creating a chain so long that – I am sure – it will reach the Heaven. But remember that you are the first link of this chain because you have Jesus in your heart. Remember about it! Therefore, talk to Him, speak to Him from yourself. But also talk with your mum and dad who need help and support in such difficult situations which they have to face up. Surely, you will be able to suggest Jesus perfectly what he is to do for them. Remember, please, to tell Him what He should do for me and I will remember about it, what I should do for You. I am hugging you a lot and I bless you from all my heart, as well as I bless Your parents and Your relatives’.
And this is our pope Francis, very ordinary and dear to us. He does everything with great simplicity in order to dress our spiritual wounds and satisfy our longing for Divine mercy and human heart.