Austin priest hopes Pope will call more to CatholicismPublished 10:21am Thursday, March 14, 2013
Local Catholics got exciting news Wednesday, as the College of Cardinals elected Argentine cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis, the first pope from the Americas, and the first pope from outside Europe in more than 1,000 years.
“It’s a wonderful time for the Catholic Church,” said Father Jim Steffes, of St. Augustine Catholic Church in Austin.
Francis, who chose his papal name after St. Francis of Assisi, could be an inspiring figure that will bring some people back to Catholicism. Steffes said the pope appears to be a deeply spiritual person and a humble leader of millions of people around the world as the earthly representative of Christ.
“Already, in his name — Francis — I think he’s telling the world a lot about himself,” Steffes said. “Certainly emphasizing simplicity and humility, it’s obvious to me he’s a man of deep prayer as well.”
Pope Francis succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his retirement from the papacy earlier this year. Steffes expects Francis to carry on Benedict’s call for 2013 to be a year of faith and to bring more people to church.
“As St. Francis was called to build the church, I think [Pope Francis] knows that’s going to be a major part of his papacy,” Steffes said. “He is going to be out there to rebuild God’s church … to call people back to the faith, to evangelize and re-evangelize. It is a really exciting time, for the church, and I think, for the world.”