A number of adjectives have already been used to describe 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, but there’s one that seems to pop up more than the others: humility.
“I’m just happy that he seems to be such a humble a pope,” said Marie Carlucci, who assists with the religious education program at Church of the Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in Cortlandt Manor. “I like the idea that he bowed and asked the people to pray for him and he chose the name of one of the most humble saints there is, St. Francis.”
Audrey Warn, a Peekskill resident, said she was overjoyed by the choice.
“I’m already in love with my new pope,” Warn said. “He seems so humble and he also seems like a great communicator.”
Bergoglio, a Jesuit cardinal, 76, from Buenos Aires, is the son of an Italian railway worker, becomes the first Jesuit and first Latin American pontiff, according to news reports. He has taken the name Francis I.
“He’s always lived very simply, he cooked his own meals and he's always showed concern over the rights of the poor,” said Father John Higgins of the Assumption Church in Peekskill. “The fact that he is from South America, although of Italian heritage, means a lot.”
Bergoglio was ordained for the Jesuits on Dec. 13, 1969 during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel, according to the Vatican’s website. He was novice master in San Miguel, where he also taught theology. He was Provincial for Argentina (1973-1979) and rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel (1980-1986).
After completing his doctoral dissertation in Germany, he served as a confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
On 20 May 1992 he was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, receiving episcopal consecration on 27 June. On 3 June 1997 was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998. He is also Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite.
He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.
“I’m very excited,” said Elizabeth Kogler, head of religious studies at the Church of the Holy Spirit. “I’m excited to see new leadership and I’m excited to see that he chose the name Francis, who is one of my favorite saints....St. Francis was a very humble man who helped build the church. I think it’s exciting that we have a pope who is from South America, considering we have large Catholic population coming from South America. I think it’s an inspiration to all of us.”
Kogler believes Bergoglio will be able to lead the Roman Catholic Church’s renewed efforts of unifying all of its followers.
“The is the year of the New Evangelization of spreading the word of gospel I look forward to following someone who will help us all do that,” Kogler said.