A Call to Serve

Front Cover of A Call To Serve

An outstanding photo journal featuring more than 150 full color photos tells the inspiring story of Pope Francis.
He loves the tango and was trained as a chemist. In his youth he had a regular girlfriend whom he planned to marry. For a pope, Francis has an unusual life story. Drawing from conversations, interviews, inside information, and the Pope’s own writings and talks, A Call to Serve offers first-hand information, moving reflections, and profound insights into the life of Jorge Bergoglio, the fascinating papal election, the challenges ahead, and the heart of Pope Francis.

On March 13, 2013, the papal conclave elected Jose Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere. Throughout his life, both as an individual and a religious leader, Bergoglio has been noted for his humility, his concern for the poor, and his commitment to dialogue as a way to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and faiths. He is known for having a simpler and less formal approach to the papacy, most notably by choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace formerly used by his predecessors. In addition, he is known for favoring simpler vestments void of ornamentation, by starting to refuse the traditional papal mozzetta cape upon his election.

The collaborative work of Stefan von Kempis (Editor of Vatican Radio) and Philip F. Lawler (Editor of Catholic World News), A Call to Serve is a 160 page compendium providing interested readers with a profusely illustrated and personal story of Pope Francis—and in that telling reveals background details of his unprecedented papal election, drawn from conversations, interviews, insider information, and Pope Francis’ own writings.



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Pope Francis was born in 1936 to immigrant parents who fled fascist Italy for Argentina, Jose Maria Bergoglio would work at various jobs in his youth—including a stint as a janitor, and as a nightclub bouncer.  He was educated by Jesuits, and joined the Jesuit novitiate, leading to his ordination as a priest in 1969. He has taught literature, psychology, and theology to college-level seminarians. He served as provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina from 1973 to 1979. In 1992, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. In 1998, he became Archbishop of Buenos Aires. In 2001, he was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II. On March 13, 2013, after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, he was elected the 266th pope, taking the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi.

Since his election, Pope Francis has focused his efforts on internal reform of Church structures, and on reinvigorating the Church’s preaching of the Gospel message, with special emphasis on outreach to the poor and the cultivation of personal holiness.  His interactions with the media and personal simplicity of life have won the hearts of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, around the world.


Table of Contents

1. White Smoke Over Rome
2. Bolt from the Blow
3. Entering the Conclave
4. The Bishop from the Ends of the Earth
5. Surprises
6. Challenges