FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Catholic clergy have watched the first 24 hours of Pope Francis’s reign closely. They say they’re already seeing signs of a pope who wants to lead by example and put the focus of the church back on its members rather than its leadership.
“The lifestyle he is giving us; simplicity,” said Father Stephen Jasso, pastor of the predominantly Hispanic All Saints Catholic Church in North Fort Worth. “This morning I saw his shoes — black shoes. It is a sign. His pectoral cross was made out of iron, not gold or silver. That’s already a message for me. , telling me, ‘Hey! Let’s be simple people. And let’s make the church more simple.'”
Father Jasso says he’s seen an excitement already building in the church after Pope Francis’s first 24 hours.
He’s a pope who casually walked practically unannounced through a side door of his favorite Rome basilica Thursday to pray.
He was the archbishop in Buenos Aires who lived in a humble apartment and rode public transportation.
“They choose a 76-year old man who is a Jesuit who rides the bus to work in Buenos Aires,” said Msgr. Michael Olson, Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving. “That has all the marks of God. He chooses the name Francis, a very simple man. The peace about him and the holiness about him is very clear. And I think that is what people long for.”
And that is what excites church leaders the most.
His humility, they say, sends a message to church members that he is a common man who has achieved his position by faith.
And, some believe it steers focus away from the scandal-torn Catholic leadership and refocuses it on Catholicism’s core values.
“The media is good,” Father Jasso said. “But let’s give the media a good message by the example of Catholics. That’s what we want. And if we can get that to the media, I think the world will be happier.”
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