In his April newsletter Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha Diocese reflects on Pope Francis’s 10th anniversary observed on March 13th, reminding the people of God of Pope Francis’s humility, simplicity, and accessibility.
The Local Ordinary of Mthatha Diocese describes the Argentine Pope as “one of us”, as Francis’s homeland and South Africa are considered 3rd world countries, “The first thing to note is that Cardinal Bergoglio’s election as Pope is historical because it broke a long history of 1.300 years of having Popes elected among European Cardinals. His homeland is Argentina, which like South Africa, is considered a 3rd world country, so he is “One of us”.
Bishop Sipuka highlights Pope Francis’s “solidarity with the poor, “preeminently expressed in his focused attention on migrants and refugees.” He adds, “His solidarity with the poor also manifests in two of his encyclicals, Laudato Si and Fratelli tutti. In the former, he addresses the injustices of the rich countries resulting from unfair and destructive exploitation of creation.”
In the April newsletter, Bishop Sipuka lauds Pope Francis for addressing “injustices against the poor at all levels”, and calls on the people of God to strive to act justly “in the workplace, in the Parish, in the area in which we live, in the province and the country,(to) pursue justice.”
As the second stage of the Synodal process came to an end on March 31, Bishop Sipuka commends Pope Francis for adopting “an angle of communion and Synodality” in his writings saying, “His angle of writing and teaching emphasizes a personal relationship with Christ rather than focusing too much on structures, reaching out to people in the margins, than focusing too much on rituals and being pastoral and caring rather than heartlessly dishing out ready-made doctrines and laws.”
In his concluding remarks, Bishop Sipuka invites the people of God to reflect on Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortations namely; Gaudete Et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), and Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)