Peace is the only true gift, says Pope, marking his election 10 years ago

Vatican News released a podcast by Francis to mark the 10th anniversary of his pontificate. For Francis, meeting seniors was the most beautiful moment. Asked about his dreams, he cites three words: “fraternity, weeping, smiling”. This morning, at Santa Marta, he celebrated Mass with all the cardinals present in Rome.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated an early morning Mass today in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta together with all the cardinals present in Rome to mark the tenth anniversary of his election as the successor of Peter on 13 March 2013.

The Vatican Press Office released no text or details about the service, but Vatican News posted a "Popecast," a podcast made with Pope Francis for this day and broadcast by Vatican Radio (in Italian)

Rather than an actual interview, the short programme gave the pontiff an opportunity to offer a personal take on these past ten years.

“Time flies… it's in a hurry,” he says. “When you want to grasp today, it is already yesterday. To live like this is something new. These ten years have been like this: living in tension.”

When asked what was the best moment, Francis cites the meeting in St Peter's Square with senior citizens, on 28 September 2014. “Old people are wisdom,” he noted, “and they help me so much. I too am old, am I not?”

As for the worst moment, he points to all times he has to deal with the issue of war: from visits to the graves of killed soldiers to the many conflicts that continue to cause bloodshed across the world.

“My thoughts go to the mothers who receive a letter from a child who died in war: this makes me hurt a lot," Francis said.

“I would have never thought that I would be the pope of World War III. I thought that Syria was a one-off, but then came Yemen, and the Rohingya tragedy. Behind wars is the arms industry. It pains me to see the dead, young men – be they Russian and Ukrainian, it doesn’t matter – who will not be coming back. It's hard.”

Without hesitation, the pontiff said that the only gift he would really like to receive on the tenth anniversary of his election is “peace. We need peace.”

Lastly, asked about his dreams for the future, the pope mentions three words: “Fraternity, weeping, smiling. Human fraternity: we are all brothers, reassembling. And then learn not to be afraid to weep and smile. When you know how to weep and smile, you have your feet on the ground and gaze on the horizon of the future. But if you can't weep, it means something is wrong. And if you forgot your smile, that’s even worse.”