Calling him "The People's Pope," TIME magazine named Pope Francis its Person of the Year on Wednesday.
"He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century," it reads under the cover story's title.
"In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power," TIME managing editor, Nancy Gibbs, wrote in an editorial on the magazine's website. "For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is TIME's 2013 Person of the Year," she concluded.
"It is a positive sign that one of the most prestigious recognitions by the international media has been given to a person who proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and speaks out forcefully in favor of peace and greater justice," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement. "If this attracts men and women and gives them hope, the Pope is happy. If this choice of 'Person of the Year' means that many have understood this message, even implicitly, he is certainly glad," Lombardi said.
Check ITALY Magazine's feature about Pope Francis’ favorite things as revealed in an interview where we discovered many of them are Italian: /featured-story/popes-top-10-favorites-art-cinema-literature-and-music
Here's a slideshow of fun images of Pope Francis throughout the year: /collection-fun-images-pope-francis