Students at Chicago’s Loyola University, a Jesuit University are bursting with pride tonight and also extremely interested in the process and in learning more about their new Pope Francis.
“The Jesuits believe in humility and they believe in social justice, education and helping out the poor. Things that will really help the Catholic image in the world,” said student Jack Williams.
The repeated word is “humility” when describing a Jesuit intellectual who travels by bus and is known for his practical approach to poverty, identifying himself as “one of the poor.”
The choice of Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a surprise in part because of his age, he’s 76. He’s also the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1300 years, and a member of an order occasionally seen as an intellectual thorn in the side of the Vatican.
Students at Loyola are thrilled.
“Especially with some of the recent events in the Catholic Church, I think it’s the right thing at the right time,” said freshman Flavio Bravo
“There are some things about religion that I don’t agree with and I’m looking for something that’s more accepting of everyone. So I’m excited to see what this new pope can do,” said freshman Teresa Russo.
Pope Francis as a cardinal preached a message of compassion for the less-fortunate and is remembered for a 2001 hospital visit, where he washed and kissed the feet of a-dozen patients living with AIDS.
“The word pontiff is really a bridge; the bridge between people and God,” said Rev. Timothy Kesicki of the Chicago Jesuits “And to see that humility before God gives us the faith that what he says, what he preaches, what he teaches will be a reflection of his own prayer, his own discernment and his own faith. And I don’t think we could ask for any more than that.”