A pope of many firsts, the former Jorge Cardinal Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is considered a humble man who has cooked his own meals, used public transportation and possesses a great affinity for the poor.
Elevated to pope by a gathering of Cardinals on March 13, Pope Francis, 76, is the first to take that name, the first South American to be pope, the first from the Jesuit order and the first non-European to lead the Catholic Church in more than 1,200 years. He is the 266th pope in the church’s history.
Sister Margie Kelly of Holy Name of Mary parish is Valley Stream said the selection of Francis was wonderful. Although she wasn’t familiar with his work prior to becoming pope, Kelly is impressed with what she has learned about him and hopeful for the church’s future.
Kelly said she likes, “the fact that he’s from Argentina, the fact that he seems to be very humble, the fact he is very much aware of the needs of the poor and I think he has a vision for the church.”
Pope Francis was born on Dec. 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio, and was ordained a priest for the Jesuits in 1969. He became a bishop in 1992. He was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1997 and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino in 1998.Bergoglio was elevated to the College of Cardinals on Feb. 21, 2001, in Rome.
Mark Daley, a Valley Stream resident for 29 years and a member of Blessed Sacrament Church, said he was happy to see the College of Cardinals select someone who was not a “media favorite.” He called Francis, “a simple man who has taken the name of a simple saint. He is a man of humility, prayer and service.”
Bergoglio chose the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi.
Lisa Lusardi-Burke said she was excited to hear about the new pontiff. “He seems like a man of the people,” she said. “I love the fact that he’s from the Americas. I’m optimistic.”
Lusardi-Burke, a 39-year resident of Valley Stream, added, “he seems very warm. His man of the people presence is just what the church needs.”
Patricia Raffloer said Francis has a hard road ahead of him as pope, but she thinks that he is the type of person that the Church needs. “My reaction was overwhelmed with joy that they had chosen such a humble man who really is a man of the people,” said Raffloer, a Valley Stream resident for 29 years. “He is real. He believes in what he represents and lives as we all do.”