The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Local Catholics Joyful about Pope’s selection
Parishioners at St. Mary Catholic Church in Fredericksburg were thrilled by the news Wednesday that a new pope was chosen to lead the world’s Catholics.
Theresa Schlachter of Fredericksburg came to the church for communion after the momentous announcement at the Vatican Wednesday afternoon.
“I cried when the smoke went white,” Schlachter said, referring to the white smoke that rose from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, signifying that a new pope had been selected.
“I love who he is,” Schlacther said of Pope Francis I, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires. “He’s an ordinary guy, but he’s so intelligent. I think he’s going to be a strong pope. I can only see hope and positivity out of this pope.”
Popes choose a name for themselves, and Tori Alycandro, a Fredericksburg 12-year-old, praised the new pope’s choice.
“I think it’s cool that he chose the name Francis,” Tori said.
Joan Doherty, also from Fredericksburg, said after the pope’s selection that she was “so grateful to the holy spirit” and that she looks forward to his leadership “with great enthusiasm.”
Pope Francis I is the first pontiff to hail from Latin America, and some commentators said his selection sends a signal about the importance of the church’s role in the southern part of the world.
Susan Eggelston, a parishioner at St. Mary, said it didn’t matter to her where Pope Francis I came from.
“I think it’s going to be a great blessing to the church,” she said.
Seventh graders from Holy Cross Academy were on a field trip to the Newseum in Washington when the news of the pope’s selection flashed on the big screen TV, said 12-year-old Jade Keiser.
Before the students headed home, they all prayed for both the new pope and the retired pope.
The Rev. Jerry Wooton, associate pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Spotsylvania, learned about the selection while returning home from a funeral.
Wooton applauded the cardinals’ selection, saying that Pope Francis I was a well-rounded intellectual and a humble man.
“I’ll be interested to see what he does and how he does it,” Wooton said. “But the most important thing is that it’s so good to have a holy father again.”