By Robin Gomes
Some 65 officials of the Roman Curia who are on their annual Lenten spiritual exercises along with Pope Francis, Wednesday morning greeted the Holy Father on the 6th anniversary of his election as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Before the morning Mass, on the 3rd full day of the March 10-15 retreat at the Casa Divin Maestro in the town of Arricia, just outside Rome, Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the prefect emeritus of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, addressed the Holy Father on behalf of the retreat participants.
“On behalf of all those present, I would like to tell you, Your Holiness, that we rejoice and are full of joy in being able to celebrate this morning Mass together with you and presided over by you,” Card. Re said. “I would also like to tell you that we ask that the Lord be your light, support and comfort in your task of confirming your brethren in faith, of being the foundation of unity and of showing everyone the way that leads to heaven,” the 85-year old cardinal said.
Card. Re concluded asking the Holy Father's blessing and assured him they are truly close to him with great affection and sincere devotion.
It was on 13 March 2013, that Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the head of the worldwide Catholic Church. He was elected in the 5th ballot on the second day of the conclave that was held following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013.
The 82-year old Pontiff is the first Pope from the American continent, the first Jesuit Pope in history and the first Pontiff who adopted the name of Italy’s popular Saint Francis of Assisi.
Six days later, on 19 March, the feast of St. Joseph, Pope Francis inaugurated his pontificate with a solemn Mass in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. Various political and religious leaders from around the world attended the event.