He’s known worldwide,– some say he’s controversial…While others say he’s an inspiration …But for Alejandro Canadas and Cynthia Fraga, both professors at Mount Saint Mary’s University, they know Pope Francis as Cardinal Bergoglio. And now they cherish certain occasions with him
Cynthia Fraga is a Professor of Pastoral Spanish,
“Pretty much attending mass with him when he was not pope Francis yet…He was Obesbo..Jorge Bergoglio or Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio
Born and raised in Argentina…Alejandro knew cardinal Bergoglio when he became auxiliary Bishop from Buenos Aires and Cardinal Bergoglio’s family lived just five blocks from his father’s house in Flores
“My dad grew up in that neighborhood and he knew Cardinal Bergoglio’s family when they were growing up and playing at that time in the 30’s and 40’s in Buenos Aires”
Alejandro recalls a church dedicated to Saint Joseph in Flores when Cardinal Bergoglio became the auxiliary Bishop.
The cardinal would celebrate mass at this church and Alejandro and his family would go see him
“It’s like knowing your priest. Or the priest that is coming to your parish and seeing him in many masses and celebrations
He also remembers working with his wife doing missionary work in the slumps of Flores. He says Cardinal Bergoglio appreciated the work they were doing and he would even visit them.
“Sometimes he missed the metro and maybe he was a few minutes late because he didn’t want to use the official car to come to this very poor area”
In 1993, Cynthia attended her first “sent forth” mass which was held before missionary trips. Each person was given a cross that was blessed by the priest
“And I just remember walking towards the alter with thousands of other missionaries just lining up, waiting for Jorge Bergoglio to put it around your neck and just treasuring that”
Both Cynthia and Alejandro agree that Cardinal Bergoglio had an unforgettable impact on their lives and when he was announced as pope, it was a moment that they’ll both never forget”
“And right away i listened to his name and I couldn’t believe it..it was like, they mentioned Cardinal Bergoglio! And I remember that I started crying because I couldn’t believe it..it was amazing” said Alejandro
“We grabbed the Argentine flag” Cynthia recalls “And we went outside and actually did a loop with the car with the argentine flag and blowing the horn…And all my neighbors were like ‘what’s going on?’ …It’s a vamos papa??? And we were all crying, and the kids too”
Tears of joy for the man they remember before he was named Pope Francis