The election of Bergoglio was history making as he is the first Jesuit and the first Latin American in modern times to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
Father Kent Bowlds, priest at Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church in Cleveland, said the election of the new pope brings great excitement to the church.
"We Catholics are looking forward to the leadership of our new shepherd, Pope Francis. I did not know anything about him before his election, but, like Catholics everywhere, I trust that the Holy Spirit guided the process of his election," said Bowlds.
Unlike other recent pontiffs, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Pope Francis doesn’t have a numeral after his name. That's because he's the first to take the name Francis.
"We see him as a symbol of the Church's worldwide unity, and as an important representative of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Savior of the world. I do not expect any dramatic changes in Church disciplines or teachings, and it seems Pope Francis chose his name as a way of signaling a Christ-like concern for the poor and the poor in spirit, which was the focus of the life of St. Francis of Assisi," said Bowlds.
The Rev. Thomas Rosica, the Vatican's deputy spokesman said in a report to CNN that, "Francis of Assisi is someone who turned his back on the wealth of his family and the lifestyle he had, and bonded with lepers and the poor," said Thomas. "Here's this pope known for his care for AIDS patients and people who are very sick. Who is known for his concern with single mothers whose babies were refused to be baptized by priests in his diocese.
"He scolded those priests last year and said, 'How can you turn these people away when they belong to us?’"
Bowlds said he was inspired by the new Pope's first words and that inspiration traveled through the Cleveland church.
"I was inspired by the Pope's first words -- praying for his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, asking for prayers for himself, and then praying for the world. On Wednesday I ran into a parishioner of Our Lady of Victories who was stopping by the church to do just as Pope Francis asked, praying for him as he begins his pontificate," said Bowlds.
In a letter to the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, which includes Bolivar County and the Delta, Bishop Joseph N. Latino wrote, “Pope Francis … will have to preach against the rise of moral relativism and secularism in a fast-paced, violent and cruel world. He will have to be a staunch and unyielding defender of the respect for the dignity of the human person in a world where individuals are very often treated as commodities.
“ A new era in our church has begun and we as a church will be refreshed as we continue our 2000 year mission of bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the whole world.”
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