Local reaction to new pope

Posted at: 03/14/2013 12:13 AM
Updated at: 03/14/2013 1:03 AM
By: Dan Levy

ALBANY - Reaction to the first-ever Latin American pope ranged from exuberant surprise to sensational euphoria.

From her Albany kitchen, Alicia Constantino found out from relatives over the telephone, that people were dancing in the streets of Buenos Aires, the place from which she recently returned after a two month visit.

"I don't know why I came back last week," Mrs. Constantino said, "I don't know why I didn't wait a little longer to be there and see the celebrations."

Mrs. Constantino and her late husband emigrated from Argentina in 1956, and says she never dreamed there'd be a pope from her native country, but always held out hope. On Wednesday that hope turned into euphoria.

"I can not stop smiling," she says, "I never expected this. I'm really excited and I think it was really about time to do this."

Meanwhile, Bishop Howard Hubbard, of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, says, given that 73% of Latin America is Catholic, he's not surprised the new pope is from that part of the world. He calls Pope Francis I a man of humility, and someone committed to social justice.

"He uses public transportation, he doesn't have a palace, and he lives in a little apartment in Buenos Aires," Bishop Hubbard points out. "I think his commitment to the poor and his commitment of being one among his flock was a major factor in this selection."

Father Michael Farano, of Saint Pius X Church in Loudonville, says Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was selected because he was the best person for the church at this time in history.

"He is know to be a very humble person," Father Farano says, "Thus the name Francis, after Francis Assisi, so he's not a pushy kind of personality but he's a strong personality."

Bishop Hubbard also acknowledges Pope Francis I has some lofty challenges ahead. Among them: more work on the clergy sex scandal, and more work on the so-called new evangelization, bringing younger generations into the church.