Pope Francis sits by the coffin of late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square during a funeral mass at the Vatican on Jan. 5, 2023. Pope Francis’ first 10 years as pope have been marked by several historic events, as well as several unplanned moments or comments that nevertheless helped define the contours and priorities of history’s first Latin American pope.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis marks the 10th anniversary of his election as pope on Monday. During that decade, several historic occasions, as well as several unplanned events, helped define the contours and priorities of history’s first Latin American pontiff. Visits with refugees in Italy and Greece, trips to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and the coronavirus pandemic and the death of his predecessor are some of the iconic moments that have shaped his papacy and influenced the direction of the Catholic Church at large.

July 8, 2013: Francis travels to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa for his first pastoral visit outside Rome to denounce the “globalization of indifference” that greets migrants who risk their lives trying to reach Europe. The plight of refugees would go on to become a major concern of his pontificate, including when he returned from Greece in 2016 with 12 Syrian migrants aboard his plane.

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