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Celebrating the Election of New Pope Francis

To all Catholics

              On March 13 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected as the 266th Pope to lead the Catholic Church in the world. He chose the pontifical name Francis.
              We expect that the new Pope will guide the Church based on his abundant experience as a pastor and with his great zeal for evangelization. I pray that God will always encourage Pope Francis and bestow on him everything he needs.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Catholic Church has been striving to live in the spirit of the Council following the intention of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who declared that the Year of Faith would be celebrated for one year starting last October. The Council took up the themes of the modernization of the Church, solidarity with suffering people in the world, and respect for and dialogue with other religions and other Christian denominations. Moreover, it declared that the Church must always be converted and renewed, stating, “the Church, embracing in its bosom sinners, at the same time holy and always in need of being purified, always follows the way of penance and renewal” and by stating (Lumen gentium 8). We must make every effort first of all to renew the Church with Pope Francis.
              In the message announced during the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops last year, it is stated that we must proclaim the Gospel everywhere and revive our faith so that the Church will continue to advance toward the “New Evangelization”(cf.2). In order to proclaim the Gospel, “we need to rediscover the ways in which Jesus approached persons and called them, in order to put these approaches into practice in today’s circumstances”(4).
              We acknowledge that the Catholic Church must deal with various issues in the modern world with the new Pope: For example, rectifying growing economic disparities; protecting the human rights of the poor, children, refugees and women; respecting life from conception to natural death; being committed to the realization of justice, peace, and the protection of human rights amid wars or conflicts in various regions; securing the freedom of religions and interreligious dialogue; abolishing religious violence; solving issues of energy such as nuclear power generation and contributing to the protection of the environment; responding to the health needs of those who cannot afford medical care; and serving migrants. We, as the Catholic Church, will address these issues at home and abroad in cooperation with the United Nations, all countries, international organizations and people of good will.
              We would like to be fully committed to establishing the Kingdom of God in prayers for the new Pope. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will guide Pope Francis and ask the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church. 

March 14, 2013

President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan
Leo Jun Ikenaga, S.J., Archbishop of Osaka

Pope Francis
December 17, 1936  1958
1969
1992
1998
2001
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina (76 years old now)
Entered the Society of Jesus
Ordained Priest
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires
Appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires
Proclaimed Cardinal by Blessed Pope John Paul II
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