Cochise County welcomes new pope
SIERRA VISTA — Along with many across the globe, local residents eagerly welcomed the newly chosen Holy Father, seeking to get to know him as pope. The first pope from the Americas, and the first to take the name of Francis (after the beloved saint), the Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the 76-year-old son of an Italian immigrant to Latin America.
“From everything that we are now learning, Pope Francis appears to be a very humble, caring man,” says the Rev. Greg Adolf, pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Sierra Vista. Fr. Adolf is presently conducting a Lenten mission in Golden, Colo., but he took time to comment on the succession. He added that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has “a great love for the poor and vulnerable.
“The choice of the name Francis seems to say it all.
“Of course, it is a thrill to have a pope from the ‘new world.’ Our prayers are with him, that he will be a worthy successor to Peter and to his namesake, Francis.
“We are also very grateful to all our sisters and brothers in the wider Christian community who have been prayerfully supportive during this process of selecting a new pope.”
George Kirmse, a retired Army officer and area judge, is a leading Catholic lay person, together with his wife, Mitzi. He admits that the last month “has been one wild ride, starting with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and now the process of electing a new one.” He viewed the tasks presented “to the 115 cardinals as mind boggling,” who [the cardinals] had to “whittle down to just one by a majority or better” to elect the new Pontiff.
Kirmse recognizes the new pope “will be facing a multitude of concerns, and yet be counted on to maintain the unity of purpose of the church and its traditions.
Admittedly, Kirmse says, “The laity is in the dark as to the background of the cardinals, who would fit the bill … with faith God was right in the middle of the conclave working His divine hand for the future of the church. All we can do is hope and pray for a positive outcome in that respect.”
Elected on the second day of the conclave, the new pope was vested in papal robes prior to being presented to the gathered throng on St. Peter’s Square who were singing hymns, waving flags and cheering, “Viva il Papa.”
St. Stephen’s Episcopal churchman, Ron McCreery, considered Pope Francis I as “a person of elegant simplicity following in the footsteps of Pope John XXIII down to Benedict XVI.
“Rather than first blessing the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, he asked them in his persona as Bishop of Rome to first bless him.”
Despite his impressive titles and authority, McCreery acknowledged the Archbishop’s lifestyle simplicity. “He rides the public transportation. He also cooks many of his own meals and lives in an apartment rather than in the archiepiscopal palace. In such ways as these, he evidences the holy commonality of a World War I ambulance driver who became John XXIII, and set the Roman Catholic Church alight with the Second Vatican Council.”
The somberness of Lent has been enlivened by the good news from Rome. He appears to be a man all may look to for future blessings and benefits.
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