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Pope Francis Celebrates 51 Years of Priesthood This December

What would've happened if Pope Francis did not get off the bus?

On December 13, 1969, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained to the sacred priesthood, just a few days before his 33rd birthday.

Eleven years earlier, on March 11, 1958, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus where, less than four years after his ordination, he made his perpetual profession on April 22, 1973. (Read: How to Raise a Pope: Learn about the boy who grew up to be the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic world)

How He Discovered His Vocation

The future Pope discovered his vocation in 1953 on September 21. On that day, the 17-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, passing by the parish he normally attended in Buenos Aires, felt the need to go to confession. He found a priest he did not know, and that confession changed his life. (Read: From Pupil to Pope: Lolo Kiko During His Schoolboy Days)

“For me, this was an experience of encounter,” Pope Francis later recounted. “I found that someone was waiting for me. Yet I do not know what happened, I can’t remember, I do not know why that particular priest was there whom I did not know, or why I felt the desire to confess, but the truth is that someone was waiting for me,” he shared.

“He had been waiting for me for some time. After making my confession I felt something had changed. I was not the same. I had heard something like a voice, or a call. I was convinced that I should become a priest.” 

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The Basílica de San José de Flores is a major landmark in the community of the Flores district, in Buenos Aires. (Photos from (Vi238) Wikipedia and (Martin DH) Google Maps)

The Loving Presence of God

Jorge Bergoglio experienced the loving presence of God in his life, felt his heart touched and felt the outpouring of God’s mercy, which, with a look of tender love, called him to religious life, after the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

This inspired the choice of episcopal, and later papal, motto “Miserando atque eligendo,” taken from the Homilies of St. Bede the Venerable. 

And now, because of his decision to get off the bus, we have our beloved Lolo Kiko leading the Catholic Church toward a great future.

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