Pittsburghers are quickly reacting to the word that a new pope has been chosen including Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Bishop David Zubik who said he "prayerfully and joyfully" welcomes Pope Francis I.
“Our new Holy Father brings with him the experience of a dedicated pastor who has served the Church so well in his many years of ordained ministry,” said Zubik. “That experience – and the rock-steady faith that has guided him – will be his comfort and strength in the challenging days ahead.”
Pope Francis is the first pontiff from the Americas, an austere Jesuit intellectual who modernized Argentina's conservative Catholic Church. Known until Wednesday as Jorge Bergoglio, the 76-year-old is known as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed.
“Many people who have known him have said that this man is very saintly, and you can see that in the request that he made asking everybody in the square to pray for him,” said Zubik, “the manner in which he so beautifully bowed down as if he were asking the blessing of everybody in St. Peter’s Square before he would bless everybody else.”
Pope Francis came close to becoming pope last time, reportedly gaining the second-highest vote total in several rounds of balloting before he bowed out of the running in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Zubik said the Church faces many challenges but notes Christians have been been dealing with challenges for 2,000 years. “As we celebrate our new Holy Father, we remain the same people of hope as in the days of the Apostles, ever enthused to bring the Word of Jesus Christ to all, and ever assured by the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us in that task.”
Pope Francis is the 266th pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and is considered be the latest link in a chain the reaches back to Peter who Jesus called the rock on which he would build his church.
“This is a very important day in the life of the church, it’s an emotional moment for me,” he said, “once again we see how alive the church is and the direction the spirit gives us.”