Thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square to hear the words of the new Pope (Peter Balleis/JRS).
Rome, 14 March 2013 – The white smoke signifying the election of a new Pontiff finally arrived at 7pm last night from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, just 300 metres from the offices of the Jesuit Refugee Service. Approximately an hour later, the announcement of Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis was made public.

Pope Francis' emphasis on social inclusion for those on the periphery of society mirrors the mission of JRS to promote hospitality to refugees, those most marginalised in our world. JRS sees his nomination as a sign of hope to peace and justice for those most vulnerable in our world.

In his speech to the waiting crowd, Pope Francis invited the faithful on "a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us"; a proclamation to the world that along the way, the new Pope will strive to lead in faith and justice.

"He encourages a mission for the poor and we need that kind of encouragement from the church leadership so that we fulfil the mission of Christ" said JRS International Director, Peter Balleis SJ.

The new Pope can identify with the struggles of migration since is the son of Italian immigrants. The Holy Father has sought simplicity throughout his life and exemplified humility and exemplified humility in his first public appearance as Pope in asking the crowd to pray for him.

"One of the issues of the Latin American church is the option for the poor, the care for the weak and the small people and maybe choosing his name as St Francis of Assisi, is an expression of that desire for simplicity", declared Fr Balleis.

Pope Francis also asked the world to pray the Our Father with him, the prayer of Jesus which places God first and calls on Him to "give us our daily bread".

"There are so many people hungry in this world, hungry for justice, hungry for protection, hungry for a home and they need forgiveness in this world, there's so much violence that people cannot forgive one another", added Fr Balleis.

It is these hungers, Fr Balleis continued, that resonate with the displaced – Syrians longing for protection, Colombians for justice, and urban refugees for recognition from their host communities.

"The Our Father that Pope Francis prayed with us and tens of thousands of people in St Peter's Square inspires us in our work, reaching out to all people, other religions and cultures. We have received great encouragement through this joyous new Pope".

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