Local residents expressed enthusiasm over the new pope Wednesday — especially regarding his humble lifestyle, South American roots and background of reform during his career,
The people who attended masses Wednesday evening at the Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Linwood and Our Lady Star of the Sea in Atlantic City were enthused to have a new pope. They praised Jorge Bergoglio — the 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires — and hoped his selection and reign as Pope Francis would mean good things for the Catholic Church in general for the future.
Ocean City residents Anne and Walter Adelmann were cheering for their fellow Irishman Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley from Boston, but were still happy about the choice of Pope Francis.
Anne Adelmann said she hopes the new pope will institute some changes and get more young people to consider practicing the religion.
"It sounds like he's a reformer," she said. "I hope he'll address the issues and not just be the (status quo)."
That issue is also important to Marcia Mancini who said she will have a wait-and-see attitude as to what the pope does.
"They absolutely have to be very, very transparent with the abuse (issues) from the cardinals on down and (those involved) should be held accountable," the Northfield resident said.
Selecting the first pope from the Americas was exciting to Atlantic City resident Delbert Anderson.
"Diversity is a slice of life," he said. "I hope he brings in new ideas."
Egg Harbor Township resident Doris Gallizo was ecstatic the pope is a Jesuit — something she said she wasn't sure would happen. She was also happy to see all of the Catholic people in Latin America finally be represented.
Northfield resident Bobbie Claudio said she hopes the new pope reaches out to those who may have become disillusioned by the Catholic Church in recent years.
"I hope more people come back and come together," she said. "We need more peace in the world."
Monsignor John Burton of the Christ The Good Shepherd Parish in Vineland said the decision by the cardinals was "incredible" and he was impressed with Pope Francis' background.
"He seems to be a strong evangelizer," Burton said. "He can reach out to those who were disillusioned and disenfranchised from the church and reach out to new people."
Burton said he was impressed with the pope's humility — how he cooked his own meals and declined to have a chauffer and instead would take the bus. Humility is an important attribute for a religious leader to always be cognizant that you are carrying out God's will, he said.
Bishop Dennis Sullivan, of the Diocese of Camden, issued a statement applauding the news and the "great joy" it brings the church.
"Catholics around the world and in South Jersey, as well as those of all faiths, rejoice at this historic occasion," he said. "The priests, deacons, men and women religious and the faithful of the Diocese of Camden pledge to our new Holy Father the support of our prayers and our full cooperation."
Contact Joel Landau:
Follow Joel Landau on Twitter @landaupressofac