Pope Francis I

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Local Monsignor Lauds New Era for Catholic Church

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By Clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - St. Mary's Catholic Church in Jackson said the appointing of Pope Francis I as the 266th Pontiff is a positive step for the Catholic Church. Monsignor Thomas Kirk of St. Mary's said the appointing of the first Latin American Pope is going to revive the largely Hispanic congregation.

"The majority of Catholics are Latin American and we have a large Hispanic congregation here our community is mainly Latino people so this is a tremendous sign," he said.

Marisol Aguirre is one of this Hispanic followers energized by the appointment of Pope Francis I.

"Latin America we do have a lot of fallen Catholics. I believe now having Pope Francis it will bring a lot of non-Catholics that moved away from the church back into the church," Aguirre said.

Monsignor Kirk said the selection of a new Pope means a new beginning for Catholics all over the world even in West Tennessee.

"Jackson is a church going town. The Pope's payers and life can bring many graces into our homes, congregations and schools," he said.

Monsignor Kirk said the Pope may be far in distance, but feels much closer because of the internet and social media. He said his influence will impact the world.

"If he can do it through his baptized people then everyone in the world is going to benefit, every municipality, city, and county."

Each Pope is named, according to his mission as Pontiff. Monsignor Kirk said Pope Benedict's mission was to bring together a Christian civilization. He says he believes Pope Francis' mission will be one aimed at helping the poor.

"I'd like to see how people tend to the conditions of poverty. Everybody give more attention to the least of my brethren."
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