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Archbishop Listecki reacts to selection of new pope

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ST. FRANCIS (WITI) -- Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki celebrated the announcement of the new pope in a Mass at the St. Francis Seminary on Wednesday afternoon, March 13th.

Listecki said Wednesday he did not expect to see the white smoke so soon.

"I was one of the ones that expected longer. I thought maybe four or five days," Listecki said.

Wednesday was Archbishop Listecki's day off. He planned to drive to Chicago to have lunch with a friend. But he says something told him he needed to be in Milwaukee -- and be around in the event a pope was named.

"I was before the computer, and I had the television on. I always multitask," Listecki said.

After Cardinal Jorge Borgoglio was named pope, Listecki held a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Francis Seminary. Pope Francis is the first Jesuit, the first Francis and the first Latin American. He is also a symbol of the new church.

"It's a wonderful moment in the history of the church, and I think it's demonstrative of the church universal now that we have the selection of a pope from Latin America," Listecki said.

In his homily, Archbishop Listecki used the staff, the symbol of the shepherd, to underscore the pope's role as a pastor and a protector.

"The joy of this man`s election is the fact that as a church we`re more complete," Listecki said.

In Milwaukee, many Catholics hold deep affection for Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Many were hoping for his selection.

"Knowing Cardinal Dolan, I could probably tell you, it was probably relief more than anything else," Listecki said.

Archbishop Listecki says that's because Dolan would have had to completely change his back-slapping, personal style and become more pastoral.


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Also speaking out on Wednesday was Father Rafael Rodriguez from South America. Father Rodriguez grew up in Venezuela.

"It was a surprise, a really, very happy surprise. I think it is an important message the church is reaching out to those places with more concentrations of Catholics and speaking to them, to their needs, responding maybe to the prayers as well," Father Rodriguez said.

Now, Catholics across the world pray for a new pope and the future of the church.

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