My Faith/The Catholic Church/Theology 10 Times I fell in Love with Pope Francis by Michelle Neitzke I was sad when Pope Benedict XVI resigned… like really sad. He had been the pope I had studied, gotten to know, and came to love. I knew I would respect any pope that was elected after Benedict, but part of me was fearful that I wouldn’t love the new pope because of my love for Benedict. But guess what? I still love Benedict AND I love Pope Francis. My love for Francis was easy, because let’s be honest. He is fantastic. Let’s recap some of his finest moments: 1. When he came out onto the balcony after he was elected, and asked that people gathered pray him because he showed his humility and need for prayer. In this moment, I knew he was a pope for the people. 2. When he took the name Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi.He is the first Pope to take a name after Saint Francis of Assisi and his pontificate has certainly modeled the saint’s life. He inspires me to live a life of simplicity. 3. Shortly after he was elected, he went back to his hotel and paid his bill himself. I was struck by his genuineness. Pope Francis has not let his papacy change him. He sees himself as one of us, it’s not beyond him to pay his own bills. 4. The time he showed the world he knows what love is. He’s not a pope that is scared of the afflicted, sick or suffering. He loves the most vulnerable. I can only pray to love like he loves. 5. When he washed the feet of a Muslim woman prisoner. He showed us that he is pope for all the people and his call to unite all faiths. Pope Francis taught me not to be afraid of interreligious dialogue but to love with an open heart, in order to draw others to Christ. 6. When asked in an interview “ Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio” Francis responded, “ I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.” Pope Francis beautifully reflects on the mercy of God, in these words Francis gave me a new motto to live by. 7. When he showed his love for children. He didn’t send away a little boy who visited him on stage. He showed me that he is a patient man, who isn’t inconvenienced by small interruptions. 8. The time he had fun with newlyweds and lived out the JOY of the Gospel. 9.Enough said. (I only have aspirations to be this cool.) 10. When he visited us in America. There is something unique about our Holy Father visiting us in America, he is amidst us, walking with us, talking with us and challenging us. His trip thus far has been beautiful and eventful. I will continue to cling to his words to the American people. His words are true, prophetic and blessed and will continue to challenge us to bring about the kingdom of God on earth. Join me in praying for the Holy Father, for his papacy and for many great moments to come!