Pope Francis’ Meeting with Ricardo Grzona

The Holy Father’s Friend Handed Him a Documentary on Ramon Pane

Ricardo Grzona

Ricardo Grzona, CEO of the Ramon Pare Foundation, shares with Exaudi’s readers the story of his friendship with Pope Francis. During the General Audience on June 30 of this year, Grzona handed the Holy Father a documentary on Ramon Pane, the first evangelizer of the American Continent.

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Ricardo GrzonaTowards the end of 1977, I had the opportunity to meet Father Jorge Bergoglio, who was to be my Spiritual Director for several decades. I began Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises with him.

During my vocational reflection, Father Jorge always insisted that the Church had to make the Gospel message credible through the laity dedicated to evangelization.

In fact, it was hard for me to believe what he said and to adapt myself to it, because, from an early age I was used to hearing that it was Religious who dedicated themselves to this. However, following his advice, I found that my life’s vocation was to be a layman dedicated 100% to evangelization.

Ramon Pane, First Evangelizer of the American Continent

Ricardo GrzonaOf course, I had to study in many Universities and Institutes to be able to understand better the message of the Church. I always stayed close to Father Jorge, who later became Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires and then Archbishop of that city. In all our meetings I spoke to him about the many lay men and women who dedicated their life to evangelize, especially in the American Continent.

And the figured that interested me most, perhaps because he was very hidden in history, was Brother Ramon Pane. Thanks to the effort of many years of research by many people who collaborated with our Foundation, in December of last year we were able to present in a virtual way, a documentary on the life of Ramon Pare, the American Continent’s first evangelizer.

Meeting with the Pope

 Given the pandemic, we were unable to travel earlier to give Pope Francis the documentary. And then, when the sanitary borders opened, we were able to travel and hand the documentary to him last Wednesday, June 30. We were also able to tell him officially that we are opening the Cause of Beatification of Ramon Pare, as a model of a young Evangelizer. Opened as well was the Cause of the first persons martyred out of hatred of the Catholic faith by a Taino chief of the present-day Dominican Republic.

Ricardo GrzonaPope Francis received the documentary with special attention and expressed his joy over the work we are doing. He congratulated us and asked us to continue with the work. Then, true to his style, he joked with us, saying that he missed us because we hadn’t visited him in a long time (the reason being, obviously, the pandemic), But he made us laugh a lot with his humor and cordialness.

Needless to say, the joy of evangelizing is always manifested. He reminded us that there would always be obstacles but that we must not lose hope! And he asked us to extend his Blessing to all the evangelizers, especially the lay evangelizers.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

The documentary on Ramon Pane is available for free on this YouTube link: