Francis Kodiyan MCBS Peripheries Ten years ago, on March 13, 2013 Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th Pope just a few days after exhorting the College of Cardinals that the Catholic Church shall “Go to the Periphery”. He explained in “Evangelii Gaudium,” the vision of his pontificate: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.” For Pope Francis evangelization presupposes going to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries. As envisioned, he literally “went out,” making 22 trips outside of Italy and visiting 32 nations. He regularly visits the peripheries of Rome, its poor suburbs and its hospitals, rehabilitation centers, prisons and facilities for migrants and refugees. He befriends Vatican gardeners, Swiss guards, and garbage collectors. Least of my Brethren On Holy Thursday each year, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at a prison, care facility or refugee center and washed the feet of patients, inmates or immigrants, men and women, Catholics and members of other faiths. During the 2015-16 Year of Mercy, he visited people in particular need, including those at a school for the blind, a neonatal intensive care unit, a community of recovering alcoholics, a children’s group home and a community for women rescued from traffickers who forced them into prostitution. In September 2015 as waves of migrants and refugees were struggling and dying to reach Europe, Pope Francis asked every parish and religious community in Europe to consider offering hospitality to one family. Kenotic Jesus What does Pope Francis mean by going out to the periphery? St Paul in his letter to the Philippians illustrates its theological significance and style of action. He speaks about Jesus who though was divine, did not think it necessary to cling to his divinity, but emptied himself and became one of us, and became the poorest of the poor, gave himself over to death, even the terrible death of the cross (Phili 2,6-9). The Son of God entered into human history as helpless, homeless, poor - poorest of the poor. We hear in the Gospel that the angels told the shepherds, "You'll find Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Lk 2,7). Luke demonstrates well how Mary went out to the periphery to serve 6-month pregnant Elizabeth, “In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth” (Lk 1,39-40). If we go to find Jesus in our world today, we must do what Pope Francis does. We must go to the periphery.