We were delighted and proud to see Pope Francis honored as Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
He has captured the imagination and the attention of our students. His decision to give priority to those in greatest need strikes a chord with the students’ sense of justice and fairness, and his eagerness to embrace and console those with illnesses or deformities alerts them to Jesus’ message of mercy.
In our seventh-grade religion class, students have been doing an intensive unit of study on St. Francis of Assisi. They are amazed when they discover the parallels between the pope and the saint. Time’s selection does not surprise any of us, because the example of Pope Francis, especially in its counter-cultural elements, resonates deeply with children’s ability to grasp what is most essential and most profound. They understand him, and they are drawn to him.
The writer is principal of St. Francis of Assisi School in Baltimore.