When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis ten years ago, the Church had just experienced the first papal resignation in 600 years. On March 13, 2013, Pope Francis stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica not wearing a traditional red, ermine-trimmed cape, and he bowed as he asked the crowd to pray that God would bless him.
Since then, Pope Francis has captivated the world with his vibrant personality, his simplicity, his love of the poor, and his care for creation. He did things differently, including his decision not to live in the Apostolic Palace, his invitations to Vatican trash collectors, gardeners, and other employees to join him for his daily morning Mass, and his insistence on going to the Italian island of Lampedusa to celebrate Mass and pray for migrants who had drowned in the Mediterranean.
In his first major document, the apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," he laid out a program for his papacy, looking inside the church and outside at the world to see what needed to be done to "encourage and guide the whole church in a new phase of evangelization, one marked by enthusiasm and vitality."
To read more about Pope Francis’ first ten years, click here.