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Why the name Francis, explains Pope

Last Updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 14:21

London: Newly elected Pope Francis, known for serving the needy in Argentina, has explained for the first time why he chose the name Francis -- after 12-13th Century St Francis of Assisi, who represented "poverty and peace".

"How I would like a poor Church for the poor!" said the 76-year-old Argentinian, the first pope from Latin America and the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1,300 years, in his first audience with journalists in Vatican yesterday.

The former cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio said the primary mission of the Catholic Church remains serving the poor.

The 266th head of the world`s 1.2 billion Catholics chose the name Francis, never before used in the papal history, following his election on Wednesday, BBC reported.

The Pope said the Holy Spirit had inspired the resignation of Benedict XVI and guided the cardinals choosing him as the next pontiff within two days.

He said he had been inspired to take the name Francis by a Brazilian colleague who embraced him and whispered "don`t forget the poor" when he was announced elected and he immediately thought of St Francis of Assisi, the report said.

The Italian founder of the Franciscan Order devoted to the poor, St Francis is said to have loved animals as his "brothers and sisters" and even to have preached to birds.

Pope Francis takes over from Benedict XVI, 85, who resigned last month citing old age, the first Pope in 600 years to abdicate.


First Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 14:21
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