“I think it’s a great choice. I like some of the subtle changes he seems to be making, like celebrating Holy Thursday at a youth [jail],” said Fr. Tim Kelleher of Blessed Sacrament on Diamond Street.
Breaking tradition of holding Holy Thursday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica or the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis will go to Rome’s Casal del Marmo jail for youths today to kiss prisoners’ feet.
In line with his Holy Thursday plans and past record working with the poor, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s chosen Papal name reflects his dedication to a simple lifestyle. St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope’s namesake, was the patron saint of animals, merchants and ecology. Although he came from a wealthy family, St. Francis remained poor and working throughout his life, giving up all material possessions in dedication to the Lord.
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the new Pope declined living in the bishop’s residence, opting for an apartment and public transportation.
“I think it represents his commitment to the poor,” said Rev. Donald R. Delay of St. Mary’s Parish on Washington Street, about the Pope’s name choice.
The new Bishop of Rome has even chose to forgo the fancy red shoes of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI who stepped down on Feb. 28, in favor of less ostentatious black footwear.
Delay chuckled while admitting he wasn’t exactly sure what that choice symbolized, but he respected the decision.
As the first Jesuit to hold the position, Pope Francis is staying true to his faith. Jesuits take a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience, much like St. Francis of Assisi.
Kelleher had similar sentiments as Delay.
“I love the idea. Obviously it reflects the simplicity of the life that he has lived in the past, and I suspect how he wants to affect the future,” he said.
The priests praised having a Jesuit Pope. Kelleher is trained in the Jesuit faith and Delay thinks it is wonderful to see a Jesuit as the Holy See.
Both church leaders were unsure of what changes the new Pope will make.
“I’m still getting used to the idea that we have a new Pope,” said Delay. “I know very little more.”
“I can’t say,” said Father Kelleher on what changes he expects Pope Francis to make. “I admire what he’s done so far.”
Published in the Walpole Times, 3/31/13