Archbishop Nienstedt, other Minnesotans joyfully welcome election of Pope Francis

| March 13, 2013 | 0 Comments
Lucia Damm, right, sings the opening hymn during a Mass of thanksgiving at the Cathedral of St. Paul March 13 for Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who was elected earlier that day. Next to her is her brother, Luke, and mother, Sarah, center, holding Joseph. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Lee Piché, Father John Ubel, rector of the Cathedral, and Father Peter Laird, vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. "It was good to be here to celebrate our new pope; it's a joyful time," Sarah said. "I don't know much about him yet, but I trust that the Holy Spirit guided the cardinals to elect the pope that we need at this time. He's in God's hands. I trust the Lord with him and with the Church." (Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit)

Lucia Damm, right, sings the opening hymn during a Mass of thanksgiving at the Cathedral of St. Paul March 13 for Pope Francis, who was elected earlier in the day. Next to her is her brother, Luke, and mother, Sarah, center, holding Joseph. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Lee Piché, Father John Ubel, rector of the Cathedral, and Father Peter Laird, vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “It was good to be here to celebrate our new pope; it’s a joyful time,” Sarah said. “I don’t know much about him yet, but I trust that the Holy Spirit guided the cardinals to elect the pope that we need at this time. He’s in God’s hands. I trust the Lord with him and with the Church.” (Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit)

Archbishop John Nienstedt called it a “joyous day for the Church,” as Catholics around the world welcomed the election of Pope Francis March 13.

“Today, we raise our hearts together in thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit for this great gift of our new Holy Father,” he said in a statement.

“To our Holy Father Pope Francis, I offer my deep fraternal affection and I renew my pledge of obedience,” the archbishop said. “May our prayers be joined today and in the coming days for our new Holy Father. And let us celebrate joyfully with all people of good will and especially as fellow Catholics, united in faith, hope and love!”

The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina came on the first full day of the conclave on its fifth ballot. A Jesuit who had been serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he has had a growing reputation as a very spiritual man appreciated for his pastoral leadership.

Proud day for Argentinian

Viviana Sotro, who came to the United States from Argentina in 2002, said it was a special day for the people of that country.

“I was in shock at first. I wasn’t expecting a cardinal from Argentina to be our next pope,” said Sotro, who serves as executive director of Sagrada Familia Apostolate at St. Stephen parish in Minneapolis.

“I feel blessed,” she said. “I feel that, being from Argentina, I have a bigger commitment now, and I’m sure that our pope is feeling the same way.”

Sotro, 41, is from Rafaela, a small town in the middle of the country. She and husband Adrian have four children, two of whom were born in Argentina.

“Even though we live in this country, I’ve been following what’s going on there,” she said. “In Argentina, like in many other countries in the world, the government is trying to push same-sex marriage and abortion. We were so happy to see Cardinal Bergoglio standing up firm with our Church’s beliefs on those topics and defending the Church’s positions.”

Sotro said she believes Pope Francis is the right leader for this time in history.

“He’s a humble person, and I think that the name that he has chosen, Francis, says a lot about how he is, and how much the world needs to go back to God and forget about materialism,” she said. “That’s what St. Francis was all about.”

Prayers important

Molly Gallagher, a staff member at NET Ministries in West St. Paul who is originally from West Virginia, said watching Pope Francis on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica brought a sense of peace.

“He seems to be simple and humble for what the Lord has placed on his shoulders,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how he will lead us closer to Christ.”

Sotro emphasized the importance of praying for the new pope.

“We need to do that,” she said. “I think that he has a big mission ahead, and as soon as he opened his mouth, he asked for prayers from all of us. I think we should do that, not because he’s from Argentina, but because he’s our new leader [and] because he’s our new pope.”

At an early evening Mass of thanksgiving for the new Holy Father at the Cathedral of St. Paul March 13, Bishop Lee Piché said during his homily that Catholics would hear much analysis and speculation in the coming days about the pope’s background and what he might do in the future.

While that can be helpful, he said, more is involved in the election of a new pope. For Catholics, the election is about faith — a faith that recognizes God’s hand and presence in the world, including through the papal office.

“Today,” Bishop Piché said, “before he gave us his first blessing as pope, Pope Francis asked for the blessing of the faithful who were gathered there in the piazza. He bowed and in silence received their prayers and their blessings, acknowledging in that profound and very different gesture — that there is in the heart of the faithful the same presence of the Holy Spirit, who is working in and through his Church.”

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Category: Featured, Welcome Pope Francis