Pope Francis wrote James Martin, SJ a personal letter of support of his ministry, praying to “continue this way.”

The letter was sent as a thanks “for photos that he [Pope Francis] mentions are of my nephew’s Confirmation Mass last weekend. He [Martin’s nephew] also wore socks with Francis’s image on them.”

In his letter, Pope Francis said the picture of socks with sent to him “made me laugh.”

The remainder of the letter addressed a P.S. sent with the photos, which Martin explained: “the ‘PS’ (PD in Spanish) that the Pope refers to was a reminder about the LGBTQ Catholic Ministry conference” which took place on June 26th.

Encouraging Martin’s ministry, Pope Francis wrote:

“I want to thank you for your pastoral zeal and your ability to be close to people, with the closeness that Jesus had, and which reflects the closeness of God. God’s ‘style’ has three elements: closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is how he comes closer to each one of us. Thinking about your pastoral work, I see that you are continually seeking to imitate this style of God. You are a priest for all, just as God is a Father for all. I pray for you to continue this way, being close, compassionate and with great tenderness. And I pray for your faithful, your ‘flock’ and all those whom the Lord places in your care, so that you protect them, and make them grow in the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Others have reported that Pope Francis used the Spanish “todos y todas” in place of all above to make a gender inclusive point, seen in Martin’s unofficial translation of the letter as “men and women.”

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  1. Pastoral ministers need to be evangelized. Without closeness, compassion and tenderness, pastoral ministry can turn into an unending pouring of water on a duck’s back.


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