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Pope Francis selected to be new head of Catholic Church

Catholics worldwide rejoiced when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became the new pope on March 13. He's the first Jesuit and the first Latin American in modern times to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. The76-year-old was the archbishop of Buenos Aires until 2012. He was born Dec. 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires to Italian parents Mario, a railway worker, and Regina, a housewife, according to Argentina's La Nacion.

The first pope to take the name Francis, he wanted to honor St. Francis of Assisi, an admirer of nature and a servant to the poor and destitute.

He has been called a humble man by those who know him, and has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and abortion. In his first public act as pontiff, Pope Francis broke with tradition by asking the people in St. Peter's Square to pray for him, rather than blessing the crowd first. He also refused to use a platform to elevate himself above the cardinals who were standing with him as he was introduced.

Father Thomas McGrath, of St. Mary’s of the lake Parish in Skaneateles, said he was thrilled with what he has heard about the Pope Francis.

McGrath said that Pope Francis will do a good job in continuing the “Year of Faith” initiative started by his predecessor Pope Benedict.

“The whole thrust of the year of faith is a renewal for our church, it’s been a time of renewal in which we come to know Christ better, and having known him, to live his principles more readily and finally to share those principles with those around us. That is what the year of faith has been all about, and continues to be all about. And it seems to me Pope Francis who comes to us now will be the perfect one to pick up on that theme and carry it out,” he said.

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