Local pastors positive about papal selection PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor   
Friday, 15 March 2013 09:32
In this image made from video provided by CTV, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican on Thursday. (AP Photo/CTV)
Historic and hopeful could easily summarize the feelings and reactions of four area priests to the selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
The selection of Pope Francis was generally a surprise to the area pastors, but each seems very pleased and positive regarding the choice.
"He impresses me as a very prayerful, a very spiritual man," said Msgr. Marv Borger, of St. Rose Parish, Perrysburg,
"His dialogical, collaborative leadership style that invites us to journey with him in following Jesus seemed very significant to me and gives me great hope," said Father Mark Davis of St. Aloysius Parish in Bowling Green.
"From everything we heard initially, it seems he has a real simplicity, a love for the poor," said Father Michael Dandurand of St. Thomas More Parish, also in Bowling Green.
"I think he strikes me as being very personable and human and even with a sense of humor, said Father Herb Weber of Blessed John XXIII in Perrysburg.
The selection of his papal name is literally the first decision made by a new pope and the selection of Francis has been well received by the local pastors.
"The name Francis is inspiring, "Weber said noting the new pope chose the name for St. Francis of Assisi. That saint, according to Weber, "had a sense of following Jesus in one of the most profound ways of any saint."
Davis agreed, "His selection of the name Francis made perfect sense. It seems like he already has tried to live out the virtues of St. Francis in his ministry. The idea of a holy father in 2013 'rebuilding our church' spiritually like St. Francis gives me much hope."
"Francis is a beautiful name, " Borger said echoing sentiments regarding St. Francis of Assisi.
The monsignor also noted two other saints with the name Francis - St. Francis Xavier and St. Francis de Sales. "There are three great saints with the name Francis to serve as models for him."
"I had a real sense that this was the person that God wanted," Davis said after learning a selection had been made but before he was named,  Davis elaborated on why the new pope's leadership style gives him such hope. His positive feelings were confirmed ""when I heard that he was the cardinal that did his own cooking, lived in an apartment instead of a palace, took the bus to work, and who was dedicated to serve to the poor."
Continuing, "This hope and excitement for the future was really captured for me by the way he conducted his papal introduction from the balcony. First of all, he spoke to us - he interacted with us - from the balcony instead of just waving. Second, he asked us to join with him to pray the Our Father and the Hail Mary for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Third, he not only asked for our prayers in general but bowed his head in silence while people all over the world prayed for him. Wow! That was so powerful. Fourth, he mentioned at least three times that we are starting on a journey together."
Dandurand also noted the reaction of the Bowling Green State University students who were with him in the church's Fireside Lounge when the news arrived.
Following the announcement he said there had been "just a real hopeful buzz about the parish. It's about all anybody was talking about."
He elaborated that he and the students in the lounge who were following the proceedings on television. Once the name was revealed, there was initially a fairly quiet response "because the name was so unfamiliar to us" but "from everything we heard initially, it seems he has a real simplicity, a love for the poor." Those factors all very much impresses Dandurand and the students.
The younger students in school at St. Rose, also shared in the joy. Borger compared this selection with the last several papal selections he has seen in his lifetime.
"It's always exciting," Borger said. "The children of our parish all cheered. We rang our bells, and heard other bells ringing outside. It's a day we will always remember. There is a great excitement."
Borger also noted how some of his congregation were on a pilgrimage to Rome at the time. Their trip was planned at least 18 months in advance so it was by coincidence they were on hand.
He said in his brief contact with them, "They talked about the incredible excitement."
The priests also noted the significance of the selection of an Argentine cardinal, the first from the southern hemisphere and the first from the Americas. He is also the first Jesuit priest to ascend to the papacy.
In a press release, Bishop Leonard Blair of the Diocese of Toledo wrote, "This is a banner day not only for the Universal Church, but also for the Church in Latin America, and Argentina in particular.
Weber summarized his happiness as one who has made numerous trips to South America, his joy and what he called a "very bold move" in choosing someone from Latin America.
He added, "I am attracted to his simple lifestyle," noting what he called, "a great need (for the church) to get away from some of the heavy-duty trappings that have seeped in over the centuries."
And finally, Weber said, "I dare say he already reminds me of our patron Pope John XXIII. He is very much about working with people."

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