The Minister of the Order tells Pope Francis the heart of every friar “leapt for joy” when we heard the name he had chosen.
Below is his letter to the Pope Francis:
Most Holy Father, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” is the cry of joy of those who waited in prayer for the Lord to give his Church a new Shepherd. For our Pope Francis we say then, “Praised be you, my Lord.” This is the prayer of gratitude that we, the sons of St. Francis around the world are raising with joy after receiving the news of your election as both Bishop of Rome and Successor of the Apostle Peter.
Your Holiness, even before knowing the news of whom the Lord had chosen and what his name would be, we already loved and prayed for you. Then, when we heard your name, for the many who already knew you, we leaped for joy. Our joy was furthered intensified when we came to know the choice of your name as Pope Francis.
On behalf of all the Friars Minor, Your Holiness, I say, “Congratulations!” The Lord has set his eyes on you and the Cardinals recognized the gaze of the Most High and chose you. Thank you, Your Holiness, for choosing the name of Francis, which is a meaningful name for the world, the Church, and certainly for all the Franciscans.
Your Holiness, with filial affection and reverence, on behalf of all those who have embraced the way of life handed down to us by St. Francis today, with deep emotion, I promise obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope Francis (Cfr. Regula Bollata 2). You can count on us, Your Holiness, on our love as sons. You can count also on our sincere obedience, our constant prayer, and sincere cooperation.
You can also rely on the Franciscan Contemplative Sisters, both the Poor Clares and the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who from their monasteries raise their prayers to the Father of Mercies for your ministry at the service of the universal Church.
While I ask St. Francis to intercede for your person, I implore your apostolic blessing for me, for my Franciscan brothers, and all the Poor Clares and Franciscan Conceptionist Sisters.
From your most devoted son in both the Lord and St. Francis
Rome, March 13, 2013
Br. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM