Like the saint, whose name he took, Pope Francis is a humble man. It's that humility that appeals to the bishop of the Sioux City diocese.
Pope Francis' first act was to ask for people to pray for him in his new mission. That's what Bishop Nickless offered just an hour after the new pope's introduction. Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City says, "He's going to be a pope for everyone." Bishop R. Walker Nickless can say that with confidence, even though he's never met Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Why? Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City says, "The first thing I noticed was how humble he was.. standing there overwhelmed by the pressure that was on his shoulders." The pressure of leading a-billion Roman Catholics, worldwide. Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City says, "He looked scared to death, and he should be. To take on the awesome and wonderful responsibility to lead the Catholic church."
Bishop Nickless says that humility in the face of the job Pope Francis I has to do is one of the reasons Nickless was pleased with his election. Nickless is also encouraged by the name he picked. Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City says, "He chose the name Francis, who's a patron saint. Everybody, Catholics, and non-Catholics, know and love St. Francis. He stands for simplicity, humility and love of the poor. That's a signal that's what he's going to be about."
Nickless says Cardinal Bergoglio famously refused to live in the bishop's palace in Argentina, got rid of the bishop's limousine in favor of public transportation, and cooks his own meals. But, what may appeal to Hispanics in the Sioux City diocese is the pope's roots. He was raised in Argentina, and is the first pope from Latin America. Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City says, "The church is growing by leaps and bounds in the southern hemisphere... in South America, Africa and the Philippines. That's where the church sees new life and enthusiasm."
And, so far, "enthusiastic" is a good way to describe the reception of Pope Francis.
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