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Locals react to new pope's election
Elated and excited were just a few of the words used by members of the local Catholic community to the news that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was chosen as the church’s new pope.
“I am glad that the pope has been chosen and, without a doubt, has been chosen by the Holy Spirit,” said St. Anne’s School Principal Sister Carmen Fernandez. “I think it’s wonderful that he will be the first pope from South America. I personally think the church is very strong nowadays in South America and they have a lot of things to share with us.”
Fernandez said she never expected the church would have a pope after only two days of the cardinals gathering in conclave.
Prior to the new pope stepping onto the Vatican balcony and making himself known to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, Fernandez said she was open to whoever it would be and said the church should welcome him in its midst because, “without a doubt, he’s going to be the vicar of Christ.”
“When the white smoke came out I was thinking that we should be proud of being Catholics because the whole world is really part of this event, Catholics and non-Catholics,” Fernandez said, adding that not only was she excited, but so were the school children.
“The children are very excited. Usually they have recess right now, but they were begging me to go to the classroom to watch the television.”
Teresa Dominguez, chancellor to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, which overlooks St. Anne’s Parish in Porterville, said Bishop Armando X. Ochoa was “elated.”
“There’s a lot of energy in the air today and, certainly, a spirit of celebration,” Dominguez said. “This is extremely significant for the Catholic church and, in many ways, the world at large. This particular pope being selected, from Argentina, is very significant. To have someone coming from the southern hemisphere of our world where Christianity is certainly growing, in regard to his Latino decent in both language and awareness of culture, his multicultural sensitivity is very significant, especially to those living in the shadows.”
Dominguez said so far, the new pope has had a very humble approach.
“Before blessing his ministry, he first asked for the blessing of the people and that’s very significant because he’s a Jesuit...Jesuits are known for being teachers but also deeply prepared and gifted in matters of spirituality and he brings a very beautiful balance of theology and spirituality.”
Reactions from other locals on The Recorder’s Facebook page ranged in opinion. Irene Muller wrote, “I am praying he has the backbone to get the Catholic Church through the crisis we are in.”
Pierre P. Mena said, “The pope was elected by some of the most holy people. The world will see I’m sure their decision was a great one. Long live Pope Francis!”
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.