WASHINGTON - The Washington Archdiocese will celebrate the selection of a new pope with a Mass of Thanksgiving Wednesday night.
Bishop Barry Knestout welcomes area Catholics to join him at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Mathew the Apostle, 1725 Rhode Island Ave. NW, for mass.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, is in Rome and took part in the conclave to choose Pope Francis I as successor to Pope Benedict.
In a written statement, released less than two hours after the announcement of Francis' selection, Wuerl did not hint at how he voted. But he did pledge his loyalty and support to the new pontiff.
"Pope Francis is endowed with so many gifts that enhance his mission now as the Chief Shepherd of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. We thank God for the many intellectual talents and spiritual qualities, pastoral experience and effective ministry of the new Pope," Wuerl's statement said.
Wuerl also said he is thankful for Francis' leadership as the church faces the challenges of leading its flock in the modern world.
"May God bring to fruitful completion what he has so wonderfully begun in the selection today of Pope Francis," Wuerl said.
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