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In 2021, during the week of the Italian language in the world, Pope Francis was named the Ambassador of the Italian language (Rai https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8JZd7oZ054). He is actually one of the main reasons why I decided to continue with the Italian language learning. Soon after 2016, the Italian Mass at the local Italian parish in Montreal, I discovered that Italian was the language used by the Catholic Church. Technically Latin is the official language, however for general communication Italian is heavily used. I started listening to Pope Francis’ general audiences. What upset me was that he spoke for 15 to 20 minutes but the summary given in English was at most 2 minutes long. Dissatisfied with the cursory summary, I decided I needed to learn Italian.
Before I knew a lot about Pope Francis, I thought Italian was his second, third or fourth language- so I thought he could relate to me, a non mother-tongue speaker of Italian. It is also why I thought he spoke slowly. I was thoroughly surprised when I discovered that he had Italian roots and that Italian is one of his mother tongues.
I have a book called 365 giorni con Papa Francesco. His teachings have been parceled into daily portions. It is perhaps my third year reading the book. The first year, I skimmed each reading in order to get a general sense. The second year, I read each portion in depth. Now, in the third year, I am translating the contents into English.