September 28, 2015 | 01:23 pm

A Good Pope

Pope Francis is on his third day here in the states. It is customary for popes to name themselves after an immediate or distant predecessor, mentor, saint, or even family members. Francis has named himself after St. Francis of Assisi, who took a vow of poverty and is known for his kindness to animals. The fervor and excitement that Francis has engendered among the people seems to come from a real appreciation of his authentic humanity. What a refreshing idea that “what-you-see is what-you-get!” We’re not used to this - we expect to be disillusioned and misled by the leaders of the world, so we usually greet them with cynicism and mistrust.

Well, Francis has apparently broken our disillusionment bubble - this man is the real thing. From all I’ve read and heard he sincerely does respect and love people - especially the poor, disenfranchised - the least among us. His message is the essence of what’s important in this life: to care for each other, to protect our planet and to not allow greed and power to overcome us. He also transcends the barriers between the religions - I heard a Muslim woman tonight on the radio who sheepishly admitted that she’d prayed to Allah that she’d be able to catch a glimpse of Francis!

It’s heartening to see people of all faiths respond to the message of Pope Francis. And I can't wait for our Blessing of the Animals service on Oct. 18th, which is a tribute to St. Francis of Assisi and our creature friends!