A new Pope has been chosen: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina, who will be taking the name of Francis, will serve as the new spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.
Known in Agentina for living a very humble life-style, the cardinal has been known for residing in a small apartment, preparing his own meals and refusing the cardinal's limo in favor of public transportation. He is also the first ever Jesuit pope.
"Let's begin this long road from the bishop of Rome to the people," Pope Francis I said on Wednesday. "Let us all behave with love and charity. Let us go along this road of fraternity and faith in ourselves. Let us pray always not just for ourselves, but for everyone in the world because there is a great brotherhood among us."
In Riverhead, Catholic priest Rev. Larry Duncklee, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, reflected on the news.
"I think it's wonderful," he said. "He appears to be a humble man, a man of great humility, with a great heart for the poor," he said.
Rev. Duncklee said Cardinal Bergoglio seems approachable.
"It's a great day, a fantastic day," Rev. Duncklee said. "This is not somebody that's an insider that's been there forever. He's spent his whole life in Argentina. He's not a diplomat."
And, Rev. Duncklee added, the fact that the cardinal's mother is still alive, and reportedly said that she did not want him to be Pope, because she was "old, and wouldn't see him much anymore," reflected deep humanity.
"He seems normal, nice and approachable," Rev. Duncklee said. "Very spiritual. I love that he just sat there, quietly, today. The world is so busy texting and tweeting. He seems to just appreciate what silence is -- that's when God speaks to us the most."
Cardinal Bergoglio will replace Pope Benedict XVI, who, in February, cited health concerns as his reason for stepping down.
". . . in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," he said in his statement.
According to The Guardian, Cardinal Bergoglio is a Jesuit who has traveled modestly by bus and has urged Catholics to help the poor, spending money on those less fortunate rather than on trips to celebrate when he was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
Also according The Guardian, he opposed the legalization of gay marriage, believes in contraception to prevent spread of disease, is not facing abuse scandal concerns, and is amenable to open dialogue with those of other faiths.