THERE was a real buzz of excitement yesterday among Orange’s devout Catholics when they turned up for early morning mass at St Mary’s Church after hearing the news Catholics across the world have a new leader, Argentinian-born Pope Francis.
Sister Mary Trainor who was among the worshipers at St Mary’s Catholic Church said it was a memorable day.
“There was so much excitement - everyone was saying ‘we have a new Pope - we have a new Pope’ and it was just so wonderful,” Sister Mary said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Father Paul Devitt parish priest of the parish of St Mary’s and St Joseph’s.
Father Devitt said news of the non-European Pope Francis is welcomed within the Catholic Church, but it has attracted more interest in Australia than he would have expected.
“I am really surprised at the level of interest from outside the Catholic Church at the election of a new Pope, and also that the cardinals didn’t choose an Italian Pope,” Father Devitt said.Father Devitt said he hoped the new Pope would address the controversial issues facing the Catholic Church.
“I think this bloke is going to be open to dialogue about these issues given his background and his experience,” he said.
Father Devitt believes it is significant that in a change from tradition Pope Francis called upon the crowd in St Peter’s Square to bless him in his endeavours.
“I think it was really interesting, before he blessed the crowd he asked for their blessing instead,” he said.
Sr Mary said she was optimistic Pope Francis would embrace some degree of change in the church.
“Our previous Pope was always talking about renewal, but now Pope Francis seems to be using the words of reform,” she said.
However, Sr Mary said the Pope’s choice of name was a sign he would remain humble.
“At first when I heard he had taken the name Francis, I thought it was after Xavier, but it is fitting that he has taken the name of Francis of Assisi,” she said.
“That seems so appropriate as I’ve heard our new Pope is the man who didn’t use a chauffeur, and preferred to use public transport and cook for himself.
“He has been elected by the cardinals and chosen by the Holy Spirit.”