Author(s): Mark K Shriver
When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, Mark Shriver found himself fascinated with this humble, charismatic, and authentic leader. What led this Argentine to become a priest? What struggles had shaped him? And what could his past tell us about his plans for the future of the Catholic Church?
Mark Shriver was brought up as a Catholic—both his father, Sargent Shriver, and his mother, Eunice Kennedy, were faithful Catholics—but he had long since grown disillusioned with the Church. Watching Pope Francis, though, Shriver was intrigued. Would this pope put the Catholic Church on a new path? What would that mean for Catholics around the world?
Sparked by a renewed sense of faith (as well as personal curiosity), Shriver traveled to Buenos Aires, where Bergoglio was born, to meet with the men and women who remembered him as a child, as a young man and Jesuit priest, and later as a Bishop. Shriver visits the confessional where Bergoglio first felt called to religion and a faith-based life hears about Bergoglio’s early job as a clerk at a hosiery factory learns about the female biochemist—who co-founded the Mothers of the Plaza del Mayo before she was tragically “disappeared”—whom he credits with shaping his work ethic and spirit of dedication visits Bergoglio’s first, incredibly humble parish: a church that was a converted vegetable shed deep in the barrios—or slums—of Buenos Aires speaks with the men and women who still remember Bergoglio with great fondness.
Mark K. Shriver is president of Save the Children Action Network in Washington, D.C. Shriver created the Choice Program and is a former Maryland state legislator. His New York Times and Washington Post bestselling memoir, A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver, was published in June 2012 and received a 2013 Christopher Award. Shriver lives with his wife, Jeanne, and their three children, Molly, Tommy and Emma, in Maryland.