New Pope Brings Joy to Latin American Community

11:46 PM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - The announcement of the new pope has a very special meaning, especially for those in the Latin American community.

Pope Francis is the first pope from South America and experts say plenty of Spanish will be heard from the pope once he starts his work. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, was the archbishop in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

There was a large gathering at Holy Cross Parish in Buffalo for a church supper Wednesday night. Folks there were from Columbia, Brazil and other South American countries. About 70 percent of the parish is Hispanic.

Many Latinos and Latinas say they haven't been this happy in a long time. And that the selection of Cardinal Bergoglio will have a huge impact in getting more Hispanics and perhaps, more people in general back to the Catholic Church.

"I cry, I see the pope, I cry," said one woman. 

"I think it is exciting I believe it hasn't happened ever before, so I believe it's revolutionary," said Kevin Santander, a Buffalo resident.

Monsignor David Gallivan presides over the parish, which is on Buffalo's Westside. While no one there has ever met Cardinal Bergoglio, they have a fondness for the name he selected.
Gallivan says St. Francis of Assisi, stood up for the poor in the 12th and 13th centuries.

"It [the church] was getting very powerful and lax in its morality and materially wealthy and Francis of Assisi went and confronted the pope and said we really have to change this," said Gallivan.

At the Latin American Cultural Association in Buffalo, Santiago Masferrer, the founder of the non-profit, proudly keeps images of St. Francis in his store. He hopes Pope Francis resembles the saint.

"The hierarchy was difficult to channel the message he carried, [fighting] corruption, respect to human beings, respect for animals, respect for plants," said Masferrer.

And for Latin Americans worldwide, they will begin to learn more about the pope.

According to Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone, there are more Roman Catholics in South America than any other continent. He says there are about 425 million Catholics in Latin America.

Monsignor Gallivan says that Cardinal Bergoglio got much support during the conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI and he's not surprised the cardinal was selected this time around.


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