Pope Francis has appointed Brother Luis Pascual Dri, an elderly Capuchin Franciscan friar, as a new Cardinal in the forthcoming Consistory, which will be held on 30 September. Although his name is at the end of the list, he is not in the last place in Pope Bergoglio’s heart.
Brother Luis Pascual Dri has spent the last years of his life in the Confessional of Our Lady of Pompeii in Buenos Aires, following his retirement in 2007. The Holy Father has spoken about him on several occasions, highlighting his work as Confessor.
The Pontiff has spoken of the friar (without mentioning his name) on repeated occasions: the first on March 6, 2014 during a meeting with priests of the diocese of Rome, setting him as an example.
Brother Luis Pascual Dri once said to the Holy Father that he felt scruples for forgiving too much, and trusting in divine mercy. That “confession” of Father Luis Pascal had a profound impact on Pope Francis, who has referred to the episode on several occasions.
A few years ago, a journalistic team visited Brother Luis in the Shrine of Pompeii. During the interview, the friar explained that he was worried about confessions, but that he followed the Holy Father’s advice and sought Jesus to ask His pardon for forgiving in excess. The Pontiff has placed great confidence in him and has recommended to other priests to seek his advice.
Brother Luis Pascual Dri spends many hours a day in the Confessional, listening to people and offering words of mercy and closeness. Although he acknowledges that he lacks academic studies, he thinks that life has taught him a lot and that his life experience, marked by poverty, has given him the necessary sensitivity to understand and to help others.
The friar doesn’t have a particular advice for his fellow Confessors, except to follow Pope Francis’ message: to be merciful, understanding and to be willing to listen and understand others. He sees Confession as an act of seeking personal improvement, and that it’s important to transmit to people closeness and kindness in this Sacrament.
With his humility and dedication to the service of Confession, Brother Luis Pascual Dri has been recognized by Pope Francis in appointing him Cardinal. His example is an inspiration for all Priests and Confessors, reminding them of the importance of mercy and forgiveness in the life of faith.