September 20, 2013


Pope Francis’ example worth emulating each day

While fall may be best known for footballs flying through the air and cooler days and longer nights, we in the Catholic Church take time to thank God for all he has created.

Every October, the Church marks Respect Life Month. And the first Sunday of the month—Oct. 6 this year—is Respect Life Sunday. (See related story on page 6.)

The month is a time for us, as Catholics, to remember how our faith demands that we protect all human life—from conception to natural death.

“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2270).

We, of course, know that includes unborn children in their mother’s womb.

But as people of faith, we take it further to include the disabled, the elderly, the homeless, the immigrants in our midst and every human being. All are precious gifts from God, and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

In today’s world—where some people are doing their utmost to push faith out of the public arena—we continually face that ever-growing challenge of recognizing every human life as a gift from God.

But thankfully, we have leaders in the universal Church, including Pope Francis, who offer examples of Christ in our midst.

By now, many of you have heard how the Holy Father recently made news when it was revealed he has personally called people who have written to him.

The papal “cold calls” are nothing new for Pope Francis, Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Center, recently told an Italian magazine.

According to Msgr. Vigano, the pope said, “That’s the way I am; I’ve always done this, even in Buenos Aires,” where he served first as auxiliary bishop and later as archbishop until his election as pope this past March.

He said the pope explained how any time he got “a card or a letter from a priest having difficulties, from a family or a prisoner, I would respond.”

The pope said, “For me, it’s much easier to call, to ask about the problem and suggest a solution, if there is one. Some people I call, others I write to instead,” according to Msgr. Vigano.

One of the people that Pope Francis took the time to recently call was Anna Romano, a 35-year-old, divorced, unwed mother-to-be.

In her letter to the pope, Romano explained how she had gotten pregnant with the child of a married man, who demanded she have an abortion. She refused.

“We [the pope and I] were only on the phone for a few minutes, but my heart was filled with joy. As we spoke, I was rubbing my tummy at the same time,” she told the Daily Mail. “I would never have imagined that the pope would pick up a telephone and call me and speak to me as if I was a dear friend.”

During the call, Pope Francis reassured Anna that a “child was a gift from God, a sign of Divine Providence,” and that she would “never be left alone.”

“He said that as Christians we should never be afraid,” she said. “He told me I had been very brave and strong for my unborn child.”

According to, when Anna told the pope that she desired baptism for her baby, but was afraid that her divorce and her being a single mom would be an obstacle, the pope said that he would be her “spiritual father” and would baptize the baby himself.

While many may have been quick to judge Anna and her situation, Pope Francis saw a mother and her unborn child—both created in the image and likeness of God—in need of his support, love and prayers.

As we prepare for Respect Life Month, let us remember the unborn, the disabled, the elderly, the immigrant and every child of God.

May we follow the Holy Father’s example and be Christ to each of them.

—Mike Krokos

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