Press Release
A Statement from the Society of Jesus on Time Magazine’s Selection of Pope Francis as Person of the Year

Head of U.S. Jesuit Order Congratulates Pope on Honor

For Immediate Release

(Washington, D.C., December 11, 2013) — Pope Francis has been named 2013’s“Person of the Year,” the iconic title given to one individual or group each year since 1927 by the editors of Time magazine. The title goes to the person who has had the greatest impact on the world and news for the past year, and previous recipients include Mahatma Gandhi, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as two popes: Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

According to Father Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference, “Pope Francis is a man with a deep connection to the poor and marginalized. He knows how to translate what is in his heart into actions — whether it’s washing the feet of Muslim prisoners on Holy Thursday to launching a global campaign to end world hunger to establishing a commission to address the clerical sexual abuse crisis.  He desires to lead a Church that unifies rather than divides, and he gives both believers and seekers a reason to be proud.

“The Society of Jesus salutes Pope Francis, our Jesuit brother, on the singular honor of being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year,” said Fr. Smolich.

About the Society of Jesus in the United States

Founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits operate 28 colleges and universities, 54 high schools and 67 parishes in the United States and engage in a variety of ministries. As religious, Jesuits commit themselves to observe vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in practicing a faith that promotes justice. For more information on the Society of Jesus in the United States, visit


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