Mercer Island Patch community members cheered on the selection the new Pope, Francis I, a Jesuit cardinal from Buenos Aires, singling out the new Pontiff's firsts:
- Ryan R Wilson: So excited!!! Our First Jesuit Pope!!!
- Eliana Maxim: First Latino Pope!
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, the son of an Italian railway worker, was named today to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.
Bergoglio becomes the first Jesuit and first South American pontiff, according to news reports.
He has taken the name Francis, another first.
Other religious locals have offered prayers for the new Pontiff.
Mercer Island clergyman, The Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos, the former pastor of Mercer Island Covenant Church, wrote a prayer "in the spirit of the familiar Prayer of St. Francis:"
Lord, make him an instrument of Your peace.
A shepherd to the lost and least.
A pontiff to the poor and rich,
a pastor to the world.
Where hatred rears its ugly head
may he respond with love instead.
And may he model pardoning
when there is injury.
Where faith’s weak flame is nearly out,
help him discern the source of doubt
and offer hope to those who can’t
because of their despair.
Where darkness reigns both day and night,
help Francis to reflect the Light
who came into our sinful world
that we might see the way.
Where sadness dominates the heart
equip this pope to do his part
and demonstrate the joy of Christ
through actions, words and smiles.
The London Guardian and National Catholic Reporter described Bergoglio as a Jesuit intellectual who travels by bus, cooks his own meals and lives simply. After being appointed cardinal in 2001, "Bergoglio persuaded hundreds of Argentinians not to fly to Rome to celebrate with him but instead to give the money they would have spent on plane tickets to the poor," the Guardian said.
He also strongly opposed Argentina's decision to legalize gay marriage, saying children should be raised by a father and a mother.
He originally planned to be a chemist, but began studying for the priesthood in 1958, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
In addition to his advocacy for the poor, Bergoglio believes in contraception to prevent the spread of disease, faces no questions over abuse scandals and would reform the Vatican Curia, according to the Guardian.
Shortly after Francis addressed the crowd at St. Peter's Square, the Vatican issued a tweet via its papal Twitter account. It said in Latin, "HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM," which translates roughly as "We have Pope Francis," according to the Los Angeles Times.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENTS
Are you surprised by the choice of the first Jesuit and South American pope? What do you think of the choice?