Archbishop praises 'Latino Caribbean' Pope
THE traditional sombre mood associated with the season of Lent in the Catholic Church was yesterday changed as several gathered at the Pro-Cathedral in San Fernando to celebrate the recent selection of Pope Francis to lead the church.
And Archbishop Joseph Harris yesterday promised to follow the new Pope's simple ways.
"I will appoint a committee to study the ways in which we can embrace the notion of being a poor church for the poor and to suggest ways in which this can truly be reflected in the life and activity of every parish in our Archdiocese. I promise now that after hearing what Pope Francis has to say," Harris said.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, 76, from Argentina, was elected Pope on Wednesday, replacing Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned earlier this month.
Pope Francis has become the first non-European Pope in over 1,000 years.
"He is from Latin America. The Caribbean forms parts of Latin America, as such he is from our region. He is a truly a Latino Caribbean person... I cannot help but think that God has confronted this sinful world once again not with the force of arms or of natural disasters but in the simplicity, kindness and humility of Pope Francis. This truly is good news," Harris said.
Yesterday those gathered at the church prayed for the new Pope while also remembering his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
Archbishop Harris said, "We are gathered here on this afternoon of the fifth Sunday of Lent for a special reason. You will notice that the vestments are white and that the Gloria was sung. That is not normal during Lent. Today we make an exception, however, because we have come to thank God for giving us a Pope."
The Archbishop said, "This morning Pope Francis, using the gospel readings, reminded us that God is a God of mercy. The church is not Pope Francis, you and I are the church. You and I must live that faith so that those around us can experience the mercy of God."
Archbishop Harris, who will celebrate his 71st birthday tomorrow, was serenaded at the end of the church service. —Nikita Braxton-Benjamin