Local Catholics celebrate the election of Pope Francis IThe selection of a pontiff affects 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, but each has a different take on the recent election of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s successor, Pope Francis I.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
The selection of a pontiff affects 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, but each has a different take on the recent election of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s successor, Pope Francis I.
Rev. Stephen Folorunso, the priest at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Hettinger, was happy when the College of Cardinals elected Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio as world leader of the Catholic Church.
“He seems to be a good man, a simple man,” he said. “We always say first impression matters, and from all the first impression that he gave he seems to be a very simple but holy man.”
Carla Olheiser was watching EWTN in the back office of Queen of Peace Parish where she works on Wednesday when Francis was elected and was excited for the announcement.
“This really hit home how very wonderful our faith is,” she said. “I think he’s going to do a wonderful job evangelizing, from what I understand. He’s been actively involved in Argentina getting people involved in the Catholic Church.”
Sister Annette Dobitz, junior high math teacher at Trinity High School, is always impressed by the papal election process.
“I know that the Holy Spirit has been guiding the cardinals in their decision,” she said. “It was a surprise to know that Pope Francis is coming from Argentina, but it was a pleasant surprise.”
Pope Francis’ election is a lot of firsts, the first Francis, the first Jesuit, and the first non-European pope in quite some time.
“That’s going to be a really good thing that he is non-European white,” Olheiser said. “I think that will be great.”
Francis was born in Argentina to Italian immigrants, so he does have an Italian heritage.
“His experience has mostly been in South America,” Dobitz said.
Before he was pope, Bergoglio was known to put an emphasis on service and for his vow of poverty, often taking the bus.
“I think as a lot of people have said, he’s kind of a man that will probably take us back to the basics,” Folorunso said. “Which is a good thing, because without the basics you cannot have the other things that you build on it.”
Francis’ history of service may influence the non-Catholic world as well.
“I believe his witness as reaching out to those who are poor will definitely be an influence not only as a pope but a witness to the whole world,” Dobitz said.
Before the College of Cardinals met, Bergoglio was not a speculated front-runner, she said. But he was a top choice in 2005 when Benedict XVI was elected.
Folorunso wishes Pope Francis the best and hopes that he remains pope for a long time.
“Keep praying for him,” Olheiser said. “Our church is very important and they can do a lot of wonderful things in this world. But he needs our backing.”