I have received many emails asking about my absence. I apologize to those of you who wrote to me, and to whom I did not respond. I have not written any Letters since Letter #62, 19 days ago. I was simply unable to write because I had no time. I was under contract with Random House — a contract that dated back several years — to complete a book within the first 30 days of the new pontificate on the life and spiritual vision of the new Pope.
I have now completed the book, and it will be released in about two weeks, on April 30. It is also expected to appear in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian, and perhaps in other languages.
Entitled Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas, the book is my eyewitness account of Francis first days as Pope. The book narrates the events of those tumultuous days, followed by a brief biography providing a context for understanding this man, and then a look at the spiritual influences that shaped him. My main goal was to offer readers a tool that can be used in many ways as a devotional. Pray for Me is really geared toward those who would like to accompany Pope Francis on his journey of faith in the months and years ahead. You may certainly read this book cover to cover, but I encourage you to use it as a tool for contemplation, one in which you can turn to any page and open a space for prayer and meditation on Pope Francis life and on your own as well.
Also, during Holy Week, we held our annual Inside the Vatican Easter pilgrimage to Assisi, Norcia and Rome. In fact, portions of the book were written in Assisi, where I was able to visit the tomb of St. Francis in the Basilica of San Francesco, and in Norcia, where I was able to visit, once again, the birthplace of Benedict and his twin sister, Scholastica. So, as I completed the final chapters of a book on the transition from Pope Benedict to Pope Francis, I was able to stay in places important in the lives of St. Francis and St. Benedict.
But all of this meant that there was hardly time to prepare these Letters.
Like his namesake, Pope Francis proclaims the Gospel, sometimes without words.