The Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, issued a statement (below) last night on the appointment of the new Pope.
Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, is the Catholic church’s 266th pontiff, and the first from Latin America.
Habemus Papam! I rejoice that Pope Francis has answered the Lord’s call to serve as Successor to Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth. On behalf of the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Arlington, I offer our new Pope Francis the support of our daily prayers, loyalty and fidelity.
As the white smoke billowed forth from the chimney and the bells of the Basilica began to ring jubilantly, I eagerly awaited the announcement of our new Pope. When he walked out onto the balcony, my heart was filled with joy. In his first moments as our Pontiff, I was so touched by Pope Francis’ humble petition that we first pray for him, before he then bestowed his first papal blessing on the world.
This is a very exciting and hope-filled time for Catholics the world over, and most assuredly for our brothers and sisters in Latin America who cannot but take great delight in the election of a native son from Argentina. Throughout my life, I have become increasingly aware how the Lord has provided for the Church the shepherd best suited to the particular needs and challenges of the time. I know that this is the case once more. I ask our diocesan family of faith to join me in continued prayers for the pontificate of Pope Francis and for the entire Church.