by Jolene Toves
Guam - The world's 1.2 billion Catholics have a new pope. 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina is now the 266th leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He has taken on the name as Pope Francis I.
Hundreds of thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square to greet the new pope. The archbishop of Buenos Aires was elected on the fifth ballot, ending the conclave on its second day. He is the first pope from the Americas and first Jesuit pope in history. "I am very happy, very happy with the new pope from South America because this is a historical moment for South America," Omaira Brunal Perry told KUAM News. "The first pope to come from a region that most of the countries are Catholic."
Perry is from Columbia and believes with the pope taking on the name Francis - after St. Francis of Assisi - he will sympathize with the poor and shed light on injustices to promote peace and brotherhood. "St. Francis left everything to serve the people and God," she stated, "and I think this pope adopting the name of Francis the first it brings on new perspective into the papacy as an office where compassion and social justice can be reached."
The pope in the meantime has brought joy to Saint Francis School in Yona, sharing the namesake. Administrator of student affairs Kevin Delgado said, "This particular cardinal that was voted on is known for being concerned about the poor and those not being served justly, so St. Francis has the same kind of lifestyle when he was here. As a matter of fact, the charisma of St. Francis even after he has died is still very much alive."
Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Agana, Father Adrian Cristobal joins the island and Catholics all over the world in celebration. He said, "It gives us a sense of hope that Pope Francis is really concerned with creating a great sense of brotherhood among all the peoples of the world and also at the same time to bring about a greater evangelization in the world."
Archbishop Anthony Apuron will preside over a special Mass of Thanksgiving for the election of the new pope. It is scheduled for 7pm at the Hagatna Cathedral, it will be preceded by a rosary at 6:45.
Needless to say, today is a very joyful day for catholic residents around the island as we celebrate the appointment of Pope Francis.