For many years, I told my wife, Judy, that we needed a Jesuit pope to bring about necessary changes in the Catholic Church.

When I studied at Boston College, one of 30 such institutions in the United States, I soon realized what it means to be a Jesuit. The Society of Jesus is Jesus-like in its service to the people. It focuses first and foremost on Christ’s own words: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

Pope Francis, a Jesuit, responds to the Lord’s words, the crux of Catholicism, by focusing on actions rather than words. He leads by example patterned after Jesus.

He brings the Church back to its tenets, away from mere appearances. He deplores the hoarding of money to the detriment of the poor. He washes the feet of the disenfranchised.

He shuns the symbols of authority: limousine, expensive clothes, and ornate apartment. He cherishes children and their innocence. He hates the sin but loves the sinner. He speaks in the language of the listener.

He genuinely appreciates the role of priests, brothers, nuns, married people and celibates; his relationship with them is more horizontal than vertical. He is willing to come to people rather than expecting them to come to him.

In Pope Francis’ first year, he got a heartfelt response from Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, fundamentalists and atheists.

He was named Man of the Year by Time Magazine and even graced the front cover of Rolling Stone magazine. He has a Twitter account.

Never has a pontiff made such an impact in his first year and been the subject of conversation everywhere. Paradoxically, this very humble man has become a sensation.

Ross Paradis

Frenchville