Originally set up to create a blast of joyful news for Pope Benedict XVI’s state visit to the UK in 2010, the main purpose of the Kids Quiz the Pope Blog was to bring the pope to British children who would not get the chance to meet him, with children sending in the questions they wanted to ask the pope.
To view more of these delightful and inquisitive questions, click on the link under ‘Categories’, ‘Pope’s visit 2010′ and ‘Questions to Pope Benedict XVI’ (in the right hand panel towards the bottom).
Brilliantly, lots of you have been asking for more information about the pope to help you with your homework, so the site is now developing and we’re slowly building up a body of information about:
- General facts about the pope
- General facts about the Catholic Church
- Facts about individual popes
- Papal news
- World Youth Day
So, if you would like a general factual question about the papacy or church answered, or if you would like to have your question about the pope published on this site, send in your question to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kids Quiz the Pope team
Oh Father, You sent Your Eternal Son to save the world, and You chose men and women, so that through Him, with Him and in Him, they might proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to all nations. Grant us the necessary graces, so that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the joy of being the evangelists that the Church needs in the Third Millennium may shine in the faces of all young people.
Oh Christ, Redeemer of humanity, the image of Your open arms on the top of Corcovado, welcomes all people. In Your paschal offering, You led us, by the Holy Spirit, to encounter the Father as His children. Young people, who are nourished by Eucharist, who hear You in Your Word and meet You as their brother, need your infinite mercy to walk along the paths of this world as disciples and missionaries of the New Evangelization.
Oh Holy Spirit, Love of the Father and of the Son, with the splendor of Your Truth and the fire of Your Love, shed Your Light upon all young people so that, inspired by their experience at World Youth Day, they may bring faith, hope and charity to the four corners of the earth, becoming great builders of a culture of life and peace and catalysts of a new world.
To find out more about World Youth Day, visit the official site here.
He awaits you
The Twenty-eighth World Youth Day
World Youth Day (WYD) is an international meeting of young people with the pope, held every two or three years, which lasts about a week.
The last WYD was in 2011, in Madrid and brought together more than 190 countries, making Christ known to all the youth of the world and showing the world that the youth believe.
The 28th WYD will be held from 23 to 28 July, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has as its motto “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28: 19).
If you are going to WYD 2013, then good on you. You’ll have an amazing and blessed time. For those still trying to decide whether to go, perhaps the opening part of the pope’s letter to you will serve as encouragement…
Dear young friends,
I greet all of you with great joy and affection. I am sure that many of you returned from World Youth Day in Madrid all the more “planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7). This year in our Dioceses we celebrated the joy of being Christians, taking as our theme: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4). And now we are preparing for the next World Youth Day, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July 2013.
Before all else, I invite you once more to take part in this important event. The celebrated statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking that beautiful Brazilian city will be an eloquent symbol for us. Christ’s open arms are a sign of his willingness to embrace all those who come to him, and his heart represents his immense love for everyone and for each of you. Let yourselves be drawn to Christ! Experience this encounter along with all the other young people who will converge on Rio for the next World Youth Day! Accept Christ’s love and you will be the witnesses so needed by our world…
From the Vatican, 18 October 2012
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
What does the pope do?
The pope’s task as ‘chief of all the shepherds on earth’ is to build the holy Catholic Church, defend our faith, teach us about our faith and help guide us to heaven, so that we can spend eternity with God, our creator and our heavenly Father.
Ever since the time of Jesus, there has been a pope. In fact, Pope Francis is the 266th pope.
During mass, the priest invites us as Christians to profess our faith, but it was Simon Peter who was the first to confess that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Mt. 16:16).
This was a very important moment, as we can tell from Jesus’ answer to Simon Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”(Mt. 16:17).
So, Simon Peter was the first to profess his faith in Jesus as the Christ, God’s anointed one. And immediately after this profession, Jesus renames Simon Peter as Cephas, (Peter) meaning rock, and puts him in charge of His new church. Jesus says to him: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church…I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16: 18-20)
And so we see that Jesus makes Peter the first pope and he was the first bishop of Rome. Subsequent popes continue Peter’s office of building the Church and also become the bishop of Rome, and this is why “Tu es Petrus” (you are Peter) is sung and chanted when a new pope is chosen. The lineage of bishops of Rome (i.e. popes) is referred to as the Apostolic Succession.
St Peter was martyred on the outskirts of Rome, at Nero’s Circus and buried there. A huge basilica was built there by Emperor Constantine which stood for 1000 years. It was rebuilt in the Renaissance period on the same spot, the basilica we know today as St Peter’s, and excavations show that it is actually built on the tomb of St Peter! So, the Church actually is built on the rock that is St Peter!
When a pope dies, all the cardinals come together in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican to form the Papal Conclave. They are not allowed to speak to anyone during the time they are gathered together to choose the next pope: no telephone, no mobile, no internet, nothing!
They pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance on whom to choose. When a new pope has been chosen, and after he has accepted, ”Habemus Papam” (we have a new pope) is announced from the balcony of the Vatican. Out steps the new supreme pontiff for the whole world to see!
What’s the popemobile?
The pope makes visits to many different places. Wherever he goes, huge numbers of people gather to try to catch a glimpse of this special person. So that everyone can see him, he travels around in the popemobile, which has lots of glass so people can get a better view.
There are several popemobiles: some go fast (160 mph), some are open air, some allow the pope to stand, others to sit, and some have bullet proof glass. You might think that this would be unnecessary; who would want to harm the pope? But in 1981 Pope John Paul II was shot in an assassination attempt by a man called Ali Agca and seriously wounded.
Pope Francis I has refused to use the bullet proof popemobile during his visit to Rio for World Youth Day! He wants to be near the crowd and also show that, even though an attack could happen, we should not fear!
But what did the pope use before cars were invented? He travelled in a glorified sedan chair called sedia gestatoria.
Where does the pope work and live?
The pope lives and works in the Vatican, in Rome, Italy. The Vatican covers an area of around 110 acres on the outskirts of Rome and is a walled enclave. It is actually a city state – the smallest internationally recognised state in the world – ruled by the Bishop of Rome, otherwise known as the pope.
Popes have lived in the Vatican since the popes returned from Avignon in 1377, and usually the pope lives in the Apostolic Palace, which is very ornate and luxurious. However, Pope Francis I chooses not to live here, preferring instead the simpler Santa Marta Vatican residence.
The pope also has a summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, which is in the hills overlooking lake Albano, southeast of Rome.
On most Sundays, the pope gives a special message and blessing to pilgrims who gather on St Peter’s Square, and to people throughout the whole world.
What does the word ‘pope’ mean?
The word comes from the Latin ‘papa’ and means ‘father’. This is why we refer to the pope as ‘holy father’.
When did the title start to be used?
In the early history of the Catholic Church, any bishop might have used the title ‘papa’, but gradually the title became used only by the bishop of Rome. It was in the 11th century that it became the official title of the bishop of Rome, that is to say, the pope!
The earliest example of an inscription referring to the bishops of Rome with the title of pope is to be found in the catacombs of St Callixtus (or Callisto) on the outskirts of Rome. The catacombs are named after St Callixtus, who lived in the third century after Jesus Christ. St Callixtus was appointed by the then pope Zephyrinus to look after the catacombs, and inside the miles of galleries of tombs that have been carved into the ground, many early martyrs are buried, including St Cecilia, who was venerated there for five centuries until her body was moved to a basilica built in honour of her. This underground cemetery was also the official burial place of the popes, with nine popes buried there, dating back to the third century.