Pope Francis’ first year hailed as an inspiration

Pontiff has fulfilled the hopes of many members of the Irish Church

Pope Francis’s first year in office has been hailed as a “breath of fresh air” and has fulfilled the hopes of many members of the Irish Church.

Msgr Hugh Connolly, President of St Patrick’s College Maynooth told The Irish Catholic that Pope Francis exudes a freshness and joy, and that “his own personal witness has single-handedly done an enormous amount to witness to the nobility and integrity of the priestly calling”.

Peter Rodgers OFM Cap, Director General of CORI, described Pope Francis as “a breath of fresh air” and said his first night “augured well with its promise of simplicity, humility and humanity. And we have not been disappointed.” 

Fr Hugh McMahon, Executive Secretary of the Irish Missionary Union said Pope Francis has fulfilled the hopes of missionaries. “His recent message, Evangelii Gaudium shows an insiders' knowledge of mission,” he said. “He emphasises that at the heart of the message is social awareness and the poor. He highlights the spirit of mission – joy.”


Eoin Carroll from The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice said Pope Francis has also fulfilled his hopes by accompanying people on the margins of society, in particular the homeless and people in prison. “Francis has paid particular attention to these two groups,” he said. “Francis expresses his faith through his actions and is calling on us all to do so.”

Prof. Eamonn Conway, Mary Immaculate College Limerick, said he felt “personally deeply affirmed and challenged” by Pope Francis. “Everything he says and does, from celebrating a solemn liturgy, or addressing a bishops’ conference, to embracing someone disfigured or inviting the homeless to celebrate his birthday, witnesses to God’s loving proximity to us, and challenges us to do the same,” he said. 

Yvonne Rooney, Youth Ministry Coordinator in Derry, saidPope Francis is a great source of inspiration for young people. “He isn't afraid to step out and be bold in his preaching and witness. Although it's only been a year, already I feel people sense he is courageous and will make real and concrete changes in Church.”