Pope’s election creates a buzz locally

As white smoke billowed Wednesday in Vatican citizen, those in Marietta greeted the announcement of a new pope with excitement.

Msgr. Michael Campbell, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Marietta, said he was intrigued by the selection of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, to be known as Francis, and the fact that the decision was not one many people expected.

“So obviously he is the choice of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit was truly involved in the selection of this man,” Campbell said.

While he doesn’t know a lot about the new pontiff, Campbell said what he has heard so far – and seen in his introduction – indicates Francis is a humble servant of God. That humility will be an asset in showing people the true meaning of the papacy, he said.

“I think he’s just what we need at this point in the church,” Campbell said.

The selection of the new pontiff was a source of excitement at neighboring St. Mary School.

“When I made the announcement – ‘Turn on the TV; we have a new pope’ – you could hear the cheers throughout the building,” Principal Rita Angel said.

Those cheers rang out again nearly an hour later when Francis was introduced on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

“We are a Catholic school, and the Bishop of Rome is the head of the Catholic church,” Angel said. “This is the successor of St. Peter, who will guide the Catholic church.

“It’s an exciting … new time for us,” she said.

Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton, with the Diocese of Steubenville, issued a statement Wednesday expressing his delight at the opportunity to serve under Francis.

“The church in South America has blessed us with one of its sons to bear witness to a world that there is always hope,” he said. “How appropriate the papal election occurs as we approach … the end of Lent, the top of the Easter mountain, in which all of God’s promises are fulfilled.”