The elevation of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis I was a thrilling experience for millions watching all over the world.
"I had non-Catholic, non-Christian friends calling me," said Father Christopher Monturo. "It's a very exciting time."
But after the spectacle comes time for reflection, said the rector of St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in West Harrison.
"We're always looking for entertainment, we always want to be stimulated," he said. "But when we're speaking about the spiritual life, that's not what we're talking about."
Father Chris said a great deal was communicated in the new pope's choice of his name—Francis of Assisi was a reformer calling the church back to a simple lifestyle—of what he wore—eschewing the red mantle to appear in the white of his order—and of what he said and didn't say—before giving a blessing, Pope Francis I asked people to pray for him. "I think that who it is that God has given us to lead us—be the Vicar of Christ—is a very humble servant."
This is a man who, when made Archbishop of Buenos Aires, traded the Episcopal Palace for an apartment; got rid of the official car and took the bus; and cooked his own food. Father Chris predicted: "He is not consumed by materialism, and that will be the spirit of his ministry."
At the Sisters of Divine Compassion convent in White Plains, Sister Carol Wagner, president of the organization, is equally pleased.
"We were very happy and excited to have a Jesuit priest elected as the Pope," she said Thursday. "And particularly because his commitment to the poor."
Wagner described Pope Francis—the first leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic church from South America—as a "humble, holy man."
Born Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis I was ordained for the Jesuits on Dec. 13, 1969, during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel, according to the Vatican.
He was novice master in San Miguel, where he also taught theology. He was Provincial for Argentina (1973-1979) and rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel (1980-1986). After completing his doctoral dissertation in Germany, he served as a confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
On 20 May 1992 he was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, receiving episcopal consecration on 27 June. On 3 June 1997 was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998. He is also Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite.
He was Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2001.
Cardinal Bergoglio served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.
Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation last month, and the conclave of cardinals deliberated only a day and a half to choose Francis I.