In an interview just after his election to the papacy, Pope Francis recalled the moment he decided to choose the name of Francis. As the final votes were counted, one of his brother cardinals from Brazil "embraced me and kissed me and said: 'Don’t forget the poor'… and that struck me… the poor…Immediately I thought of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis was a man of peace, a man of poverty, a man who loved and protected creation. These days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we?"
From the beginning of his papacy, Francis has joined reverence for creation with concern for the poorest peoples of the earth. A God-haunted wonder and sense of humility joins them both. "There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself," he writes in the encyclical 'Laudato Si:' On Care for Our Common Home."
This week Regis University welcomes a renowned group of speakers to contemplate the vision of Pope Francis for our world and for the Catholic Church in these difficult and contentious times. Though the topics at hand will be serious and urgent — the suffering of the poor and marginalized, the suffering of the victims of sexual abuse, of immigrants and refugees, and of the Earth itself — the spirit of Regis’s inaugural University Mission Symposium promises to be, in the spirit of Francis himself, celebratory and hopeful.
"Joy cannot be held to oneself," Francis said. "It must be let go. Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks with us on the path of life, and translates freely into love of neighbor."
To discern the way of joy and hopefulness together in a time when despair is a real temptation; to refuse to cede our imaginations to the "prophets of doom" in our time; to open our hearts to Francis’s call to "mercy in a suffering world"—these are our hopes for the inaugural Regis University Mission Symposium.
Please consider joining us for any or all of the remarkable sessions. All are welcome, and your presence will enhance the spirit of welcome and inclusion we celebrate in Pope Francis’s witness.
By Chris Pramuk
Published September 28, 2018