Catholics in Port Chester today are cheering the selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina as the new leader of the church - Pope Francis.
The news from the Vatican this afternoon especially hit home with the large Hispanic community in Port Chester.
"I'm very excited by this," said Luis Marino, a Port Chester village Board of Trustees member who is a native of Peru. "It shows that we as Hispanics can do anything if we work together."
Marino said he believes the selection of a pope from Latin America will help to break negative stereotypes that can be divisive in communities such as Port Chester.
Port Chester resident Blanca P. Lopez said it's exciting to have a pope from the Americas, especially from South America.
"A first on both counts," Lopez said. "Latin America is home to about 40 percent of the world's Catholics so it's nice to have someone at the top of the church representing that part of the world. He will have big shoes to fill, though. Many Latin Americans continue to revere Pope John Paul II, even after Benedict."
Village resident Sivlio Buccieri said there were many tears of joy coming from his wife's eyes as they were watching the new pope greet the world.
"She was talking with her family in Italy at the time this was taking place, you could have felt it in your whole body shake as this was taking place," Buccieri said. "It was very emotional and I had to have towel ready for her, it was a great feeling."
The news of a new pope from South America is exciting for the church and for Latinos near and far, said Port Chester Mayor Dennis Pilla.
"I am already very impressed with our new Pope's apparent humility and his great concern for the poor," Pilla said. "He seems like he will be an excellent leader and role model for the many people around the world who similarly strive to humbly serve God and their fellow man."
The College of Cardinals at the Vatican in Rome has chosen a new pope. White smoke rose from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, the traditional signal that the selection has been made.
A Jesuit cardinal, 76, from Buenos Aires is the new pope.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the son of an Italian railway worker, becomes the first Jesuit and first Latin American pontiff.
He has taken the name Francis.
He addressed the crowd below from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica soon after the white smoke sent the signal that a new pope had been selected.
Born Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, he 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 was Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2001. He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 2005 until 2011.
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