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Regional Catholic leaders rejoice in news of new pope

Last Thursday, Christian Lopez and Brannaugh Magallanes, students at St. Mary's School in Alexandria, took part in the excitement of the selection of Pope Francis by coloring pieces of paper declaring, "We have a new pope!" (Photo by Lowell Anderson)

Thursday's election of a new pope has drawn praise from the regional Catholic community.

Jorge Bergoglio, 76, took the papal name Francis and became the 266th to hold the title of spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. He had most recently served as the cardinal of Buenos Aires.

He is described as a low-key person who prefers to be close to the people, visiting the poor.

The Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict rejoiced with the whole church on the election of the new pope and released the following statement: "We are grateful to the Holy Father for his willingness to undertake this sacred task. Our sincere prayers and support are with him, as he seeks to make the light of Christ's love shine ever more brightly in the world."

The Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph are a community of women committed to enhancing the spiritual lives of others.The sisters serve in parishes, social justice organizations and educational and healthcare institutions that reflect the needs of the church and world.

John F. Kinney, Bishop of Saint Cloud, joined Catholics around the world in welcoming Pope Francis, stating it is an exciting moment for the church. "I believe Pope Francis is a man of humility with a strong love for all people, particularly for the poor," Kinney stated. "Pope Francis is a Jesuit, a Latin American and, most important, a man of the people. The cardinals were indeed united in their efforts to find a new Holy Father, a man to shepherd the church as we look to the future. Here, also, is a man of deep prayer as we all witnessed when he stood on the balcony for the first time and asked everyone to join him in prayer. Let us celebrate joyfully with all people of goodwill, united in faith, hope and love! God bless Pope Francis."

Pope Francis is the first pontiff from Latin America.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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