FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – After a two-day conclave at the Vatican, Roman Catholics around the world and in Fairfield County were treated to the news Wednesday afternoon that a new pope had been selected.
His Holiness Pope Francis I was elected at about 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and presented to the world nearly an hour later.
“I think it’s a great moment for the church,” said the Rev. Samuel Scott, pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Danbury. “I think he will bring his gifts and his talents, his perspective as a Latin American, and a vitality that we see in Latin America that is exciting and refreshing and will bring a new springtime in the church.”
Before being elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the cardinal of San Roberto Bellarmino in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He joined the church as a member of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. Scott called him a “man of simplicity, a man of learning and a man of faith.”
“He seems like a very humble and simple man,” said the Rev. David Riley of St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church in Stamford, adding that choosing the name Francis is a sign of humility.
He added that Pope Francis is taking over one of the two most difficult jobs in the world -- with president of the United States as the other.
“I hope in many ways he is a breath of fresh air,” Riley said.
He does not expect any big changes on church positions on controversial issues such as same-sex marriage or abortion. But the pope will be open to change and have the courage to make tough decisions, Riley said.
"We join our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe in saluting Pope Francis I. At this historic moment for the Church, we offer prayers for strength, wisdom, and courage for our new Pope as he assumes this great and sacred responsibility. In these complex and challenging times, there is an opportunity for renewal and reflection," said Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, in a statement.
The Daily Voice asked readers to share their thoughts, and many were pleased with the selection and sent their best wishes to the new pope.
“Welcome Pope Francis! Wishing you bring new hope and lead the church in the right direction,” Patti Eilertsen-Krom posted on The Stamford Daily Voice Facebook page.
"Wonderful news for us! He is a holy and humble man, much like my favorite Pope, Pope John Paul II. He is a man for the poor. He will be a good ruler," Carol P. DiMassimo posted on The Greenwich Daily Voice page.
On The Fairfield Daily Voice page, Mary Nardone posted, “I like him! He seems humble and relatable and seems like he might be able to connect better with everyday Christians.”
"Wonderful. A reformer. Pope for the people," posted Karin Breese Cable on The Norwalk Daily Voice page.