Pittsburgh Area Catholic Leaders Hail Selection of Pope Francis
Pittsburgh area Catholic leaders reacted to the election of Pope Francis and were especially fixated on his 'New World' origins and the meaning behind the name he chose. Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was selected as the new pope Wednesday.
Pittsburgh area Catholic leaders reacted to the election of Pope Francis and were especially fixated on his 'New World' origins and the meaning behind the name he chose.
Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was selected the new pope Wednesday and greeted the thousands who gathered at the Vatican.
Closer to home, Catholic leaders here said they are excited about the selection.
"Like most Catholics I was filled with great excitement when the white smoke emerged from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. And although I didn't know all that much about Cardinal Bergoglio, his appearance and remarks from the balcony were both quite impressive. Further, the fact that he is a member of the Jesuit religious order founded by Saint Ignatius, a saint to whom I'm greatly devoted, fills me with much joy," said Father Mike Caridi of St. Louise de Marillac Church in Upper St. Clair.
"I think it's a great day in the church," said Sister Barbara Anne Quinn of Holy Child Catholic School in Bridgeville. "I think I'm excited that someone from Latin America was selected. From the little bit I've heard and with him taking the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, he will really be a leader for all of the church."
She said that name is significant for the Prayer of St. Francis that "we're the people who bring the peace to the world."
"To have that focus from the very beginning is important," she said.
"It's very exciting around here," said Sister Michele of Whitehall Borough's Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God, named for St. Francis of Assisi. Sister Michele is a receptionist at the Sisters' campus and is also a sacristan for Mass at the Sisters' Mary Immaculate Chapel.
"We're doubly excited to have a pope and for his name to be 'Pope Francis I.' The sisters are so happy."
The Rev. James Orr of Baldwin Borough's Saint Albert the Great Catholic Parish also spoke of the new pope's name.
"I think the choice of name is significant both from a Franciscan and Jesuit point of view," Orr said. "St. Francis of Assisi, his original commission from God was to rebuild the Church, and certainly, with all the difficulties we've been through, we're in need of some rebuilding."
Pope Francis is the first pontiff to come from the Americas after dominance by Catholic leaders from Europe.
"I was surprised that it was someone from Latin America, I guess, because we're used to the popes being from Europe," Sister Quinn said. "I would've been excited if he had come from Africa or Asia, but to come from our side of the world is wonderful."
Said Father Orr, "It's great that we have a New World pope. We'll see how that develops."
Paul Snatchko, who grew up in McDonald and now is the communications director for Magnificat, a monthly Catholic prayer booklet and worship guide based near New York City, said the selection gives him "a great deal of hope" for the future.
"Today's election of Pope Francis gives me a great deal of hope for the Church," Snatchko wrote in an email to Patch.com. "I think it was wise for the cardinals to choose a man from South America. It was far past time for a non-European to become the successor of Saint Peter. It also is a cause for hope that the new pope is a member of the Jesuits, the religious order that contributed so much to the intellectual life of the world through its many universities."
He also noted the importance of the name.
"The new pope's selection of the name Francis also gives me great hope," Snatchko said. "Saint Francis was a humble man who believed he was commanded by God to rebuild the Church. I hope our new Pope Francis will lead the way in doing just that in our own time."
Pope Francis replaces Pope Benedict XVI after he resigned at the end of February. The conclave of Cardinals to select the new pope began Tuesday morning.