Seventy years have passed since a young Jorge Mario Bergoglio felt his first call to the priesthood. On 21 September 1953, the Feast Day of Saint Matthew, Jorge was almost 17 years old. He was planning to attend a student celebration when he decided to stop by his parish church before heading there. He felt the need to go to confession, even though, when he arrived there, he found a priest he did not know.
Still today recollecting this moment, Pope Francis is not sure what exactly took place. Describing his experience, he said, “I don’t know what happened, I don’t remember, I don’t really know why it was that priest there, whom I didn’t know, why I felt this urge to go to confession, but the truth is that someone was waiting for me”. After confession, he felt different. Something had changed: “I was not the same. I had heard, just like a voice, a call: I was convinced that I had to become a priest”, he added.
As the Holy Father said at the Vigil of Pentecost on 18 May 2013, “we say that we must seek God, go to Him to ask forgiveness, but when we go, He is waiting for us”.
On 11 March 1958, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. On 13 December 1969, just a few days before his 33rd birthday, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained a priest.