General facts about the pope for kids

Here are some quick facts about what the pope does and what it is all about. To find out more on each of these points, click on the link.Papal flag

What does the word ‘pope’ mean?

The word comes from Latin and means ‘father’. This is why we refer to the pope as ‘holy father’.

What does the pope do?     

The pope’s task as Vicar of Christ on earth, Supreme Pontiff, Bishop of Rome and Holy Father, is: to be chief and servant of all the shepherds on earth (that means all our priests and bishops); 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.


Where does the pope work and live?

The pope lives and works in the Vatican, in Rome, Italy. On most Sundays, he gives a special message and blessing to pilgrims who gather on St Peter’s Square, and to people throughout the whole world.

Has there always been a pope?Peter keys

Ever since the time of Jesus, there has been a pope. In fact, Pope Francis is the 266th pope. As Christians during mass, the priest invites us 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 pronounces him as the first pope. 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 put Peter in charge. Subsequent popes continue Peter’s office of building the Church, and this is why “Tu es Petrus” (you are Peter) is sung and chanted when a new pope is chosen.

How is a new pope chosen?      Pope outline                                                                                      

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?st_ninians92

The pope makes visits to many different countries. 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.



  1. iliana replied:

    pope francis is super cool and humble he is awesome

  2. joy replied:

    really good site for kids

  3. joy replied:

    me and my friend love this site we have top marks in RE

  4. joy replied:

    best site ever if you want to know about popes

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