Catholic community welcomes Pope Francis

The bells on campus rang for an hour Wednesday to celebrate the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis around 2 p.m. EST, after the Conclave was in session for just two days.

A prayer was offered for the new Pope Francis at 5 p.m. Mass Wednesday in the Chapel. At 9 p.m., “Pack the Chapel,” a Holy Hour run by Campus Ministry, FOCUS and SPO, was led by Msgr. Joseph Chapel.

“(Pack the Chapel) was really important because it helped me take an hour out of my day to connect with my faith” freshman physical therapy and biology double major Patrick Pereira said of the event.

About Pope Francis, Pereira said, “I believe that he’s a great man, he spreads what Catholicism is all about and what faith is about and what brotherhood is about. He appears to display a message of being humble, of showing humility, of showing love and care for others.”

Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and the third consecutive non-Italian pope elected. “I believe His Holiness has the qualities needed for the Papacy today,” The Most Reverend John J. Myers, archbishop of Newark, said in a statement. “He has a pastor’s heart. He has administrative skills needed to address the issues of the Church’s administration.”

Pope Francis has experience with the Congregations for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments and of the Clergy, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and with the Pontifical Council for the Family and Pontifical Commission for Latin America, according to the statement. “His Jesuit training and experience as a teacher will serve us all well as we, the Church, seek to teach the Faith to all in this new century,” the statement added.

Chapel said this is “exciting for the world, the developing world,” because he is the first pope from Latin America.

Chapel described Pope Francis’ background as a Latino, and said that western and northern theology in developing countries deals greatly with how Jesus accompanies people in their suffering.

“The new pope will very much have a sense of the universal church,” Chapel said.

Charlotte Lewis can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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