Filipinos hail new Pope-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Filipinos from all walks of life rejoiced Thursday as the College of Cardinals in Vatican elected a new pope to replace Benedict XVI, who shocked the world with his resignation last February.
The new pope, Cardinal Mario Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, chose the papal name Francis. The first non-European and Jesuit pope was elected after the fifth balloting around 2 a.m. Thursday (Philippine time).
“We are happy that we have a new pope and like many others, we also accept the surprise that he is not European,” said Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in a statement posted on the CBCP website.
“Like all Christians, we are invited to give our full trust to him and give our allegiance to him and help him in all his programs,” Palma said.
He told Sun.Star Cebu on Thursday that there would be a thanksgiving mass in the archdiocese sometime next week.
Joining the celebration was President Benigno Aquino III, who looks forward to work with the new Catholic leadership.
"The President, along with the Filipino people, joins all the Catholic faithful as they receive their new leader and meet his proclamation with a sense of boundless promise," said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Thursday.
"We hope and pray that this will inaugurate a pontificate that will bear witness not only to the basic tenets of the Gospel, but will also serve as a voice for peace, justice, and charity in a world threatened by tension and armed conflict, poverty, uncertainty, and loss of confidence in institutions," he added. Leave your message and prayers for Pope Francis
Pope Francis, the 266th pope, gained the admiration of many as he begins his pontificate.
“I was touched by his asking the people for their prayers and blessings in silence,” said Marilu Chiongbian, Cebu-Citizens Involvement and Maturation in People’s Empowerment and Liberation Foundation Inc. (C-Cimpel) director.
Pope Francis, in his message after the conclave Thursday dawn, asked for prayers from the thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel.
“Now I would like to impart the blessing, but first, first I ask a favor of you. Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that He bless me: the prayer of the people asking a blessing for their bishop. Let us pray in silence, this your prayer for me,” the 76-year-old Argentinian said in his first address, before bowing his head.
“Now, I will impart the blessing to you and all the world, to all men and women of good will,” he added.
He chose the name Francis, which to Chiongbian “spells out that perhaps his papacy will significantly tilt towards a preference for the poor and a simple lifestyle.”
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes said the new pope was an “inspired choice, which can only come from the Holy Spirit.”
Fr. Danny Montana, RCJ, regional fund director of the Fund Assistance to Private Education (Fape)-Davao, was also elated after he learned that the Catholic Church has a new leader.
"We celebrate with joy and gratitude the fast election of the new pope, Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, who took the name Pope Francis… Finally, after few days of being orphans, we have a father and shepherd to strengthen us in our faith to accompany us in this pilgrimage of life and to navigate the Church to a safe anchor amid some difficulties and challenges of the contemporary world and society," he said.
With the new Pope, Montana said the Catholic faithful are assured that they be "safe, secure, and serene."
The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro also happily welcomed the election of the new pope.
"Nagagalak din tayo and it was totally unexpected I think. He was really a Pope for the poor and he was more siguro in touch with the suffering of the people of Latin America din," said Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma.
Msgr. Elmer Abacahin, Holy Cross Parish priest in Alubijid, Misamis Oriental and president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, said the almost two-weeks of waiting has created an intense curiosity, especially to the Roman Catholics, but added the power of the Holy Spirit has indeed worked among the cardinals.
“Wow, it is really the Holy Spirit,” Abacahin said.
Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo echoed Abacahin’s statement, saying the result of the papal election only showed that the cardinals can never be swayed by media opinion because it is the “working of the Holy Spirit.”
Dominga Cordova, 50, a devotee and an active church leader, said it was like finally welcoming a father from a long trip away from home.
“I cannot express my happiness. Sama ra nga nawad-an kita og amahan ug finally niabot ra gayud siya,” Cordova told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Even if a new pope has already chosen, Abacahim said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines still has a great chance.
“Dako pa kayo og chance si Cardinal Tagle although gi-ampo sa mga Filipino nga siya unta ang mamahimong Santo Papa. Taas ug daghan pa ang panahon ug mga kasinatian nga angay usab maandam si Cardinal Tagle,” Abacahin said.
Tagle has been referred in media reports as one of the strong papal contenders.
In a statement Thursday, Tagle said he assured Pope Francis that millions of Filipino Catholics will be supportive of his papacy.
“When I approached Pope Francis to assure him of the closeness and collaboration of the Filipinos, he said, 'I have high hopes for the Philippines. May your faith prosper, as well as your devotion to Our Lady and mission to the poor',” he said.
Over 80 percent of the Philippines’ nearly 100 million people are Catholic, making it the third biggest in the world after Brazil and Mexico, according to American think tank Pew Research Center last month.
Tagle also thanked those who prayed for him and other 114 cardinal electors who chose the successor to resigned Pope Benedict XVI.
“I thank you for your fervent prayers for the cardinal electors. We never felt alone even for a moment. Your love sustained us,” he said.
Like Tagle, Pope Francis is a member of the Society of Jesus, a religious order not known for taking high leadership roles.
Born in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis is the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He was ordained a Jesuit on December 13, 1969 and was appointed novice Master and later on provincial for Argentina from 1973-1979.
He was also rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel from 1980-1986 and served as confessor and spiritual director in Cordoba after having completed his doctoral dissertation in Germany.
On May 20, 1992, he was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires and was consecrated bishop on June 27 of the same year. He was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires on June 3, 1997 and took over the post from Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on February 28, 1998.
Pope Francis was proclaimed Cardinal by Blessed John Paul II in the consistory of February 21, 2001.
It was known that Pope Francis got the second highest votes in 2005 when Pope Emeritus became the Holy See.
He was also a member of several Congregations in the Vatican – the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for the Clergy, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Pontifical Council for the Family and Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
He has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests, reports said. (Sunnex/With HDT/SDR/Virgil Lopez/BAP and PDF of Sun.Star Cebu/ALC and ANC of Sun.Star Davao/Abigail Chee Kee Malalis of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro)