Young Catholics respond to Pope Francis’ being named pope

By Jacqueline Burkepile

Correspondent

North Texas Catholic

March 26, 2013

Youth and young adult Catholics throughout the Diocese of Fort Worth expressed their enthusiasm following the March 13 election of Pope Francis. Many are excited, surprised, and anticipating the future as the Church embarks on this new era.

High school senior Kaitlin Hesse from Sacred Heart Parish in Muenster said following the election process was a new and joyful experience. “I am very excited to have a new pope,” said Hesse. “I hope that Pope Francis can effectively influence and relate to our society and be a refreshing new leader in our dark times.”

High school senior Sarah Miller, also from Sacred Heart, said she appreciates the significance of the papal name former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio chose for himself. “I absolutely love that our new pope chose the name Francis,” said Miller. “I was surprised when I realized that he was the first pope to do so, but I am pleased with the decision, considering the joy that St. Francis brought to the Church and to the world.”

Joey Sandoval, 31, from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller said he is impressed with Pope Francis’ humility and hopes that he will lead the Church to greater holiness. “He’s a guy who actually lives what he preaches, and I think that’s a great thing,” said Sandoval. He expressed a desire for Pope Francis to spread a message of humility so that all of humanity might better understand, “that everything we know and learn comes to us from God.”

High school junior and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishioner Amelia Arth, who plans to attend World Youth Day in Brazil this summer, said she is very excited and looking forward to being present with Pope Francis as he enters into his new life as leader of the Church with youth from around the world. “We’re privileged to be part of his first World Youth Day, especially because he’s from [the Americas],” said Arth.

St. Elizabeth adult volunteer Randell Labio also plans to attend World Youth Day. He said Pope Francis’ election made him more excited for the event since the Holy Father is from Latin America. Labio expressed his delight that the new pope is from Latin America.  Referring to the fact that Pope Francis is the Church’s 266th pope, he said “I think my excitement for World Youth Day this year shot up by ‘266 percent’ when I heard that Pope Francis is from Latin America.”

“I have this perception that Latin American Catholicism expresses a certain kind of joy as a whole that you don't usually see around here in the United States,” he said.

University of North Texas senior Victor Flores, who is of Latino descent is very excited Pope Francis is from Argentina. “I think it’s surprising to see a Latin American Pope,” said Flores. “It’s something that I thought about, but I knew the chances were slim. After he was elected it was a great joy.”

St. Maria Goretti parishioner Jacqueline Harvey is a convert to Catholicism and is grateful she had the opportunity to be a part of the historical event. She said this was her first opportunity to experience a papal election since her conversion in 2007, “so it is the first time I actually had a deep emotional and spiritual interest in what was going on,” said Harvey. “I wasn’t born into the Church, so it meant a lot to me.”

Young wife and mother of two Vanessa Ciastko, also of St. Maria Goretti, said Pope Francis is a true example of humility and love. “God always knows what his people need, and I am confident He chose this man to lead us for a reason,” said Ciastko. “I can’t wait to see what is in store for the Church. I hope that having a pope like Francis will help us actively see how Christ wants us to live.”

Youth and young adult Catholics throughout the Diocese of Fort Worth expressed their enthusiasm following the March 13 election of Pope Francis. Many are excited, surprised, and anticipating the future as the Church embarks on this new era.

Published (until 5/1/2013)