VATICAN CITY — With hundreds set to attend the Bergoglio family picnic this Sunday, one invited guest surely will be missing.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, today Pope Francis, was sent an invitation several days ago, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to show. Attendees, who are meeting up in Cordoba, are hoping for a phone call or note instead, Luis Badilla reports on his blog Il Sismografo.
The extended Bergoglio clan in Argentina has been getting together for a family lunch since 1975. It doesn’t happen every year, but last year 300 people came and this year nearly 400 are expected. It must be “the Francis bump!”
The Bergoglio lineage begins in northern Italy — and today the majority of Italians with that last name are still in the northern parts of Turin and Asti, where Pope Francis’ father was from. The pope’s father, Mario Jose, and other family members, including his beloved grandmother, Rosa, went to Argentina in 1929.
There they joined other relatives. “Three of my grandfather’s brothers had been there since 1922 and they started a wood flooring business,” the future pope explained in the book “Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio” by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti.
The pope’s grandparents wanted to move to Argentina to be reunited with their siblings. “There were six in all, two stayed behind in Italy,” he said.
Martin Bergoglio had sketched out a family tree (see below) a while back, tracing the family name back to the 17th century.
The pope’s father, Mario Jose, shows up in the very bottom left-hand corner of the genealogical tree. Click on the image to enlarge it.
There are only a handful of Bergoglios listed in the online Whitepages in the US and UK, and none listed for Australia. But if you scour the tree and recognize a great-great-grandfather somewhere, why not show up? There will be at least one empty seat with a place setting.