Mar 14, 2013 at 10:50 am
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The smoke poured, bells rang and the world stood at attention yesterday as Pope Francis was introduced and cheered in Vatican City.
The former Bishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jorge Bergoglio is the first Latin American pope in history at a time when the majority of the world's Catholics live in the western hemisphere.
Father Bob Rolfes, Vicar General of the Diocese of St. Cloud tells KNSI News he was surprised and thrilled to learn of Bergoglio's appointment.
Rolfes says he spent time yesterday researching the life of Bergoglio, and sees him as a humble, hardworking and scholarly man.
He adds, his chosen name of "Francis," a name with a great deal of significance, could work on a few different levels.
"Whether he imitates St. Francis of Assisi, who had a great love for the poor, a humble man, a man with great concern for the earth and social justice, or whether he follows in the example of St. Francis Xavier, who was a great evangelizer and brought the message of Christ to many people, both are great models for him," Rolfes says. "And I truly believe, with what I've heard and read so far, that he will follow in both of their footsteps."
Now, amongst many duties, the new Pope will begin the process of selecting bishops - including one for the St. Cloud Diocese.
Rolfes says the selection process was halted following the resignation of Benedict. Rolfes says the Pope will be busy settling in to his new role, and there's no telling exactly when he'll name a new Bishop for our area, replacing Bishop John Kinney.
"I would guess it will probably be several months down the line," Rolfes says. "It will take Pope Francis to adjust to the workings of the offices in Rome before he'll begin appointing new Bishops."
The 76 year-old Bergoglio has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina. He reportedly earned the second highest amount of votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and has long been known for the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope.
John F. Kinney, Bishop of the Saint Cloud Diocese, issued this statement welcoming Pope Francis earlier today:
"It is a graced and exciting moment for the Church. I believe Pope Francis is a man of humility with a strong love for all people particularly for the poor.
Pope Francis is a Jesuit, a Latin American and, most important, a man of the people. I think this week has truly shown us that the selection of a new pope is the work of the Holy Spirit. The cardinals were indeed united in their efforts to find a new Holy Father, a man to shepherd the Church as we look to the future.
Here, also, is a man of deep prayer as we all witnessed when he stood on the balcony for the first time and asked everyone to join him in prayer. I am especially pleased with his desire, as Bishop of Rome, to continue the focus on Evangelization. If Evangelization begins in Rome how quickly it could spread throughout the world!
May our prayers be joined today and in the coming days for our Holy Father Pope Francis. Let us celebrate joyfully with all people of good will united in faith, hope and love!
God bless Pope Francis."