‘Pope Francis is everything people say about him - and more’

Pupils at a Derry school have been told about the humility of Pope Francis, from a man who has written two books about the pontiff.

Cathal Barry, who works for the ‘Irish Catholic’ newspaper, visited St Cecilia’s College last week as part of a two days event celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Barry, a journalist, has written two books on the pontiff and last year he was able to present a copy of his book ‘Praise be to you’ in person to Pope Francis on a visit to Rome.

“Pope Francis brings to the Papacy a sense of spirituality that truly sees God in all things,” he said.

“Some commentators have noted how he has set a different style by wearing the simple white cassock symbolising that he was going to bring the church back to basics.”

He revealed how Francis came about his name when a friend hugged him in the conclave and told him ‘don’t forget the poor.’

“Francis of Assisi was a 13th century friar who embraced a life of poverty.

“A man of the poor, a man of peace. Picking that name sent a message to the world.”

He told the pupils how Pope Francis has made a conscious effort to engage with young people; he often poses for selfies; his instagram account was one of the fastest growing and the rate of retweets on his Twitter account makes him one of the most influential world leaders on social media.

“Pope Francis has breathed new life into the church in a way that has never been done before,” added Cathal.

“He encourages young people not to look at things in black and white, he wants them to see things in colour.

“What he has done is shift the emphasis to mercy, love and forgiveness. He is a Pope of Firsts, he is a Pope of the People. Often you see Francis at the door of the church. He will be the one saying that we can’t reach the people outside of the church unless we go outside. He says that doing a little can effect great change.”