The world has been fascinated with Pope Francis since his election in 2013. His love for the poor, his down-to-earth demeanor, and his folksy homiletic style are attractive to a world looking for authenticity.
Pope Francis Takes the Bus and Other Unexpected Stories, written by Rosario Carello, is filled with stories that show this very side of Pope Francis. Many of the stories are from his days before he was elected to the Chair of Peter, including his insistence on using public transportation (even as a cardinal), his devotion to both the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph, and his tendency to make personal phone calls to people who have written to him. The stories are folksy and sweet, and each one holds a lesson for the reader.
The book was originally published in Italian when Pope Francis was still rather new to the pontificate, and its setup is a list of topics from A to Z (sort of…there’s no X or Z). The stories were fun to read, and they’re quick as well. There’s no need to read the book in order, really, because the stories are all stand-alone tales that can be picked up and put down at the convenience of the reader.
I did enjoy the book, though the style was a little more informal than I was expecting, and the stories sometimes feel as if they simply stop without a clear ending. Overall, I think the book is a neat way to humanize our pope and to show his humility. (Again and again in the stories, we encounter Pope Francis – or Father Bergoglio, as he has preferred to be referred to (even as cardinal) – demonstrating kindness and humility, a love for the poor and concern for everyone’s spiritual welfare, humor and gravity… This is an opportunity to really get to know how Pope Francis ticks.
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©2017 Christine Johnson
Cross-posted at DomesticVocation.com