A New Reign
Catholics around the world have a new leader in Pope Francis I.
White smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, meaning 115 cardinals in a papal conclave elected a new leader for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, on the first full day of the cardinals’ conclave.
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month, throwing the church into turmoil and exposing deep divisions among cardinals tasked with finding a manager to clean up a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy as well as a pastor who can revive Catholicism in a time of growing secularism.
Pope Francis I, formerly known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is the first non-European pope in the modern era and the first South American pope.
The 76-year-old is know as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed, according to Associated Press reports. AP also reports that he is considered a conservative Catholic who often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina’s capital.
Local Catholics gathered in the pub of Pennybyrn at Maryfield to watch the announcement on Wednesday. The retirement facility was founded by the Sisters of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God in 1947 and was a 22-bed Catholic nursing home.
Sister Lucy Hennessy said she is excited about Wednesday’s selection.
“We are very pleased and very excited. We feel that the Holy Spirit definitely had a big part to play in all of this,” Hennessy said. “The prayers of the people certainly had input as well, because it was different than what the media thought it would be. We are very pleased and wish him all the best.”
Hennessy, who has been a sister for more than 40 years, said she looks forward to what Pope Francis has in store for the Catholic Church.
“Our prayers are with him and all the wonderful work that he will do as he holds up to a higher moral standard, which I think we all need to have before us today,” Hennessy said.
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From the White House
Excerpt of statement by President Barack Obama on the election of Pope Francis:
“As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than 2,000 years — that in each other we see the face of God. As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day.”