After one thousand days on the job as Pope, the Holy Father has shown that he is a Master craftsman in creating original gestures. At the same time, he is a man with a rare talent for speaking in simple but telling ways.
1 ASKING FOR PRAYERS
Upon his election to the papacy, just after he was introduced to the world, the Pope made a gesture that would come to define his Pontificate: He pleaded with the people to pray for him.
“I would like to bless you…but before I’d like to ask all of you for a favor. Before the bishop blesses his flock, I ask that you pray to the Lord, so that He blesses me. The prayer of the people, asking for the Bishop’s blessing.”
During the Mass for the initiation for the pontificate of Pope Francis, he did this:
He came down from the Popemobile to greet Cesar. This was the first of many times he would step off the Popemobile or bring someone along with him, as he did with this Argentine priest and these Spanish children.
Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has taken every opportunity to get close to his followers. That has included an insistence on riding in open vehicles, rather than using bulletproof –glass-bubbles. He is known throughout the world for his simple taste in cars.
4. SURPRISE PHONE CALLS
Another remarkable gesture of his are surprise phone calls. He called these Spanish nuns, but they didn’t answer. So the Pope left an affectionate message for them.
“What are the nuns doing that they can’t answer the phone? I am Pope Francis, I wish to greet you as the year comes to a close. I’ll see if I can call you back later. May God bless you.”
5. SHARING A TABLE WITH THE POOR
The Pope is used to living in a community. That means he doesn’t like eating alone. And he often takes meals with the most marginalized people. He sat down for lunch with 60 of the city’s poorest citizens when he visited the Caritas soup kitchen in Florence, Italy, and he did the same at a prison in Naples.
With his usual tendency to improvise, Pope Francis is known to ditch his plans for jokes. He often does this with prepared speeches during foreign trips or during other events. Whenever he visits a church outside of Rome, he usually stops by a neighborhood where poor immigrants live.
And before one of his trips abroad, he stopped by an optometrist to get new lenses.
7. TENDER BRIDGES
Pope John Paul II famously said that it’s important to “build bridges rather than erect walls.” Pope Francis takes this seriously.
One of his most remarkable gestures was praying in front of the wall that demarcates Israel and Palestine. Pope Francis during his time so far has even led a prayer at the Vatican with the presidents of Israel and Palestine.
One of his most recent gestures was a visit to a mosque in the Central African Republic. The mosque’s head imam joined him on the Popemobile afterward.
Pope Francis was also the first Pope to have visited a Waldensian church. He apologized to members of the Protestant denomination for the damage the Catholic Church had done to them.
“I ask for forgiveness for the non-Christian attitudes and behaviors, some even inhumane, that we carried out against you. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, forgive us.”