Local bishop: Pope's name, mission have great significance

‘A good true shepherd’

Students from Brenda Raymer’s 4th grade class at St. Peter Interparish School gather with kindergartners from Judy Heinrich’s and Kathy Surface’s classes as they clap and cheer. The classes were watching a live broadcast from Vatican City as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, now known as Pope Francis, addresses the gathered masses in St. Peter’s Square and television audiences around the world from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica following his election as the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church by the College of Cardinals on Wednesday.

Students from Brenda Raymer’s 4th grade class at St. Peter Interparish School gather with kindergartners from Judy Heinrich’s and Kathy Surface’s classes as they clap and cheer. The classes were watching a live broadcast from Vatican City as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, now known as Pope Francis, addresses the gathered masses in St. Peter’s Square and television audiences around the world from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica following his election as the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church by the College of Cardinals on Wednesday. Photo by Kris Wilson.

Bishop John Gaydos had already planned to be in Rome next month. But now, that trip will take on more significance as a new leader of the Catholic Church will be in place.

Gaydos, who is bishop of the Jefferson City Diocese, met with reporters at St. Joseph Cathedral on Wednesday afternoon after Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was named Pope Francis. The fact he was the first pope to take the name Francis and the first Jesuit to become pope should give a hint of what the world might expect from the new leader, Gaydos said.

Gaydos referred to the new pope’s name belonging to the famous saint Francis of Assisi, who was told by Jesus to rebuild his church because it was falling into ruins.

“We have many crises now in the church,” Gaydos said. “The sex abuse crisis, people not going to church crisis. All you have to do is look at St. Francis’s life and see how he started to repair the fabric, and it was only later that he realized his real mission was to repair the many imperfections of the church in his day.”

Gaydos said he was surprised that the cardinals chose a man 76 years old, but evidently he had the qualities that the leaders were seeking.

“I believe the Holy Spirit has given us Pope Francis as a good true shepherd for the new evangelization of the church.”

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