How does the head of the Catholic faith become a person of the year? Time’s cover story says, “The papacy is mysterious and magical: it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself. And it raises hopes in every corner of the world—hopes that can never be fulfilled, for they are irreconcilable.”
What makes this Pope so important? According to Time magazine, “it is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all.”
When Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope in March 2013, he was the first Pope to choose his namesake after Saint Francis of Assisi; the 13th century patron saint of the poor. Therefore he is known as Pope Francis I. The son of a railway worker and one of five siblings Pope Francis is highly regarded for his work with Argentina’s poor.
So how does Time choose the Person of the Year? Time magazine’s annual tradition actually began in 1927. At that time it was titled, “Man of the Year”. While several woman have been named since then only two other Popes have held this position. Editors select the person who has had the most influence whether good or bad over the course of the year. Time defines the Person of the Year based on the person who most affected the events of the year, for better or for worse. After considering suggestions from the magazine's 2 million plus Twitter followers, the final selection was made by its editors.
On Tuesday, Facebook announced Pope Francis was the most talked about person this year. According to Religion News Service, “Pope Francis took the top spot, followed closely by Royal Baby George.”
Pope Francis will celebrate his 77th birthday on December 17. He has much to celebrate this year, but this humble man will not call for a celebration in his honor. Certainly not, for he is a man known to take a bus instead of drive in a fancy car. He cares for people and ministers to the sick. Just this week he launched a worldwide movement to end hunger through prayer and action. In his message, Pope Francis states, “We are in front of a global scandal of around one billion people who still suffer from hunger today. We cannot look the other way and pretend that this does not exist. The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone. The parable of the loaves and fish teaches us exactly this; that if there is the will, what we have never ends.”
Pope Francis certainly is a man worthy of this title. For this year’s Person of the Year is a man making a difference and, for the betterment of humanity.