As Pope Francis and his curial staff continue their Lenten spiritual retreat this week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released an official statement yesterday expressing the U.S. Bishops' spirit of thanksgiving for and solidarity with Pope Francis on the occasion of the first anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff. The bishops say that they are noting the Pope's anniversary "with thanksgiving." The American prelates credit the Pontiff with "reaching out to the marginalized and being present to those on the periphery of society. He has set an example by choosing a personal simplicity of life, by washing the feet of prisoners, and by taking into his hands and kissing the badly disfigured."
The bishops of the United States further state that the Pope "has brought to light new dimensions of the Petrine Ministry and added new life to the office he holds. His constant outreach to the alienated, his emphasis on mercy and his sheer humanity have served as an inspiration not only to Catholics but also to other Christians and people of good will around the globe," the statement, issued by the Administrative Committee of the USCCB, who are in Washington for their spring meeting yesterday and today. The bishops went on to say that they invite faithful Catholics to pray "that Christ our Lord will bless Pope Francis and grant him many years of fruitful ministry as Bishop of Rome, as the Servant of the Servants of God.”
The annual retreat of the Roman Curia, in which Pope Francis is participating, concludes on Friday.