New Pope Francis I Elected: Catholics in Swampscott React
The white smoke appeared on Wednesday, signalling that the conclave had chosen Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the new head of the Catholic Church. Locals across the community responded.
Excitement rose on Humphrey Street mid-afternoon Wednesday with news of a new pope, and the first pontiff from the Americas.
The hand shake was part greeting and part celebration as both the barber and priest were excited by Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becoming the new head of the Catholic Church.
The new pope's selection of the name Francis I, after the 12th century Italian Catholic St. Francis of Assisi, was significant, said Rev. Rafferty.
"I think it is a powerful message," he said.
St. Francis of Assisi represented a return to simplicity.
And the selection of the Argentinian cardinal gives an opportunity to draw attention to social justice issues and the great struggles — for food and clean water — that many people in the world face each day to survive, he said.
"I think a lot of us saw the inherent advantage of a Third World pope," the reverend said.
It speaks to the universality of the church.
"Our oneness in Christ," he said. "And it gives the message that we are not just a European, First-World church."
Church Deacon Andrew Acampora echoed this thought, saying it is important that the church look at issues of social justice.
"I am very excited and hopeful for the church and the future and hope he is able to fulfill with all he has been blessed to do," the deacon said.
Parish Secretary Irene Curran was clearly excited as Rev. Rafferty read aloud what he wanted this week's church bulletin to read.
The last bulletin described the church's efforts helping its sister church in Haiti.
This week's bulletin will have the headline: "Please Pray for Francis I Our New Holy Father."