Alum Michael O’Loughlin, journalist, receives letter from pope on AIDS book

Tom Canuel, Culture Editor

In our last issue, an article was published about several new books from alumni and a retired professor. On Monday, November 15, Michael O’Loughlin, class of 2007, published an op-ed article in the New York Times. O’Loughlin had written a letter to Pope Francis about the newly published book, and Pope Francis responded to the letter. Michael O’Loughlin quoted the following excerpt from Pope Francis’s letter, translated from Spanish into English:

“Dear brother. I thank you for the letter and the book, which you wrote.

As I finished reading your letter, I was spontaneously struck by that through which we will one day be judged: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me.’ Thank you for shining a light on the lives and bearing witness to the many priests, religious sisters and lay people, who opted to accompany, support and help their brothers and sisters who were sick from H.I.V. and AIDS at great risk to their profession and reputation. Instead of indifference, alienation and even condemnation, these people let themselves be moved by the mercy of the Father and allowed that to become their own life’s work; a discreet mercy, silent and hidden, but still capable of sustaining and restoring the life and history of each one of us. 

Again, I thank you and ask that the Father bless you and the Virgin Mary care for you, and please, don’t forget to pray for me.

Fraternally, Francis.”

O’Loughlin’s op-ed can be found on the New York Times website. O’Loughlin’s book has officially been published and is available on or wherever books are sold.