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Texans respond to election of new Pope
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, until last week the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is now Pope Francis, leader of the world’s more than 1 billion Roman Catholics, following his election March 13 in Rome.
Wilson County NewsMarch 20, 2013 2,791 views 1 comment
“I believe Pope Francis will be a positive and favorable influence on the world as he leads the Catholic Church,” said Gary Shank of La Vernia after the announcement last week that the cardinals gathered in Rome had reached a consensus. “He seems to be a very humble and compassionate man who is loved and respected not only by those whom he has served, but also by the cardinals and other leaders of the Catholic Church as well.”
On March 13 at 1:06 p.m. local time, 7:06 p.m. in Rome, white smoke billowed from the small chimney of the Sistine Chapel, signaling to the masses gathered in St. Peter’s Square that a new pope had been chosen. Millions of people worldwide watched on television and the Internet as history unfolded in the Vatican City.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, age 76, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, had been prayerfully chosen by his fellow cardinals to be the 266th pope, shepherd to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
Just as Jesus gave his apostle Simon the name Peter, signifying the humble fisherman was to put his old life behind him, the new pope, the first from the Western Hemisphere, chose a new name -- Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, a humble reformer. Pope Francis is the first non-European and the first Jesuit priest chosen to lead Catholics worldwide.
Following the traditional announcement in Latin, “Habemus papam” -- we have a pope -- the crowds in the Vatican City and those riveted to electronic screens everywhere waited for their first glimpse of the man who now leads the Catholic faithful.
The doors of the balcony swung open and Pope Francis appeared. The crowds in St. Peter’s Square waved, cried, and cheered for the new leader, who broke tradition immediately. Rather than blessing the masses, he instead asked everyone to pray for him and his new position in the Church. He bowed at the waist and silence spread over St. Peter’s Square, as the crowd prayed.
A member of Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, Pope Francis has served others through social action. The Jesuits teach and operate social programs. According to Jesuit.org, members base their daily lives on the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola and focus on three meditations:
What have I done for Christ?
What am I doing for Christ?
What will I do for Christ?
In his first Mass as pontiff, the former archbishop delivered an off-the-cuff homily about the need to walk with God, build up His church, and confess.
“I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage -- the courage -- to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward,” he said.
Pope Francis inherits great responsibility at a time of great scrutiny for the church he leads. Even before his election, his conservative views on birth control and homosexuality had not made him popular among progressives. The church continues to deal with such issues as abortion, birth control, and same-sex marriage, as well as the scandal of sexual abuse by clergy.
The actions and decisions of Pope Francis will be watched not only by the Catholic faithful, but around the world. He is a world leader and a head of state, as well as leader of the world’s Catholics.
Area residents voiced their response to the election of the first pope from the New World.
“I really like him,” said Lillian Cooper of Meyersville. “I loved John Paul II so much and when he died, I didn’t feel especially led by the new pope, but I followed him, as he was the leader. But now, Pope Francis seems to follow in the footsteps of John Paul II. It looks as if his teachings and rulings with our Church will be just as Jesus Christ intended it.”
Mary Arnold of Corpus Christi expressed her hope in the new pope’s leadership.
“I believe our new Pope Francis is going to help us recapture our hearts from whatever we have let them assail to and bring them back to the Sacred Heart of Jesus where they desire and long to live in mercy and love.”
“This is the first time in years I have really followed the conclave,” said Teri Kruse of La Vernia. “When Pope Francis walked out on that balcony and the first words he spoke were ‘good evening’ and then he asked for prayers for Pope (Emeritus) Benedict, bowed his head, and asked for the people to pray for him, I felt an incredible sense of humility by a man who was just elected to lead the world’s Catholics. He seemed very much at peace with the awesome task just bestowed on him.”
Felix and Patsy Sekula, who lead Catholic teen retreats in Falls City, remarked on the new pope’s humble demeanor.
“Being a Jesuit, Pope Francis I advocates a simple, humble embrace to all people,” Patsy said.
“We believe he will lead the church by staying true to himself and to the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church,” Felix added. “He will bring a breath of fresh air to the Vatican Administration.”
Praying for the pope
Pope Francis will need the prayers of the faithful, to be led by the Holy Spirit, but most of all to help him shepherd his flock as the Vicar of Christ.
As You gave your Church on earth to your apostle Peter, You have granted the papacy to Pope Francis.
Be his daily guide and focus as he leads Your followers to Your Kingdom.
Bless him in this time of transition and give him the strength, endurance, and courage to honor You and Your Church.
In Your name we humbly pray,
Your Opinions and Comments
Dusty Duty M.D. (Retired)
March 20, 2013 1:45pm
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