POPE Francis is already proving a real hit.
From the moment he stepped out onto the balcony at St Peter’s he has managed to speak to the world and its 2 billion Catholics as if he was just standing on the street having a chat with you.
On Saturday, thousands of journalists crowded into the Vatican’s Paul VI hall to hear him praise their hard work on covering the papal election and also use his first slogan: “a poor church for poor people”.
This is the sort of publicity the Catholic Church needs: a leader of a spiritual organisation who preaches spirituality, justice, simplicity, truth.
He is a Jesuit. He is used to consulting people, to missionary work with the poor, to a lack of pomp, to keeping at the heart of the Christian mission: bringing the Good News.
There has been enough bad news about the Catholic Church in the past decade. This looks like an opportunity for it to redeem itself.
Francis of Assisi is this Pope’s inspiration, someone who combined social justice with a deep spirituality.
The Jesuits and other religious orders, such as the Redemptorists here in Dundalk, are typical of this basic Christian outlook.
Working with the people is what the ministry is all about.
As he brushes aside the trappings of office Pope Francis is setting a good example.
There may be difficulties ahead, but this is a refreshing new dawn.