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Carroll reacts to new pope

What some of the leaders in Carroll's Catholic community are saying about the new pope:

Father Dave McGuigan, St. Joseph Catholic Community, Eldersburg

How do you feel about the new pope being elected?

Well, I'm very happy that the cardinals - I feel like they took the time that they needed to take, and it seems like it happened sooner rather than later and I'm glad for that. I know the church is eager.

How do you think his election will change the Catholic Church?

I think it's significant that he's the first pope from the southern hemisphere. He's a South American. I also think that it's significant that he chose the name Francis. There has not been a Pope Francis before now. It seems to me that must have some significance for him in terms of his style, and they way he'll serve the church to choose as a model. Saint Francis of Assisi, a poor and simple man who was known for loving creation and spreading God's love in Jesus Christ in a very simple and humble way. For some reason that seems significant to me in that way.

Are there any issues that you hope the new pope addresses?

Well, I think John Paul II and Benedict XVI have brought some things to the forefront that will continue to be responsibilities of our new pope. That is what we call the new evangelization - it's the new proclamation of the gospel message to touch people's hearts, to call people back to the Catholic Church who have drifted or left, and reach new people who maybe have not heard the gospel message yet or have not yet heard it in a way that touches their hearts. I think evangelization will be an important message. I certainly feel he brings knowledge of and experience of the growing Catholic population at least in the western part of the southern hemisphere. ... I think he'll bring an attentiveness or an awareness to the needs of the church in different parts of the world, what we call the developing world. That would be important for the global church.

What does it mean to you that there is a pope from the Americas?

I'm very excited about it. ... I think it would be good news to people at least from South America and the western part of the southern hemisphere and a signal to the whole church that we recognize the part of the world where the Catholic Church is growing and there are people of deep faith there. That seems in and of itself significant to me. I don't know what it would mean in terms of an agenda, I have no clue about it. Just a recognition that the church is truly a global reality, I think is signified by the election of this pope.

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Monsignor Martin Feild, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Taneytown

How do you feel about the new pope being elected?

I'm ecstatic. It looks like the perfect person [who] can continue the legacy of Pope Benedict. The quality of him, the humility, and being a Jesuit - which I went to a Jesuit high school, so I'm familiar with the spirit of the Jesuits - which is a very good one. They're very interested in education and the face of the church. I think he will be an excellent pope to continue the legacy that has already begun.

How do you think his election will change the Catholic Church?

Not much. It will continue as always, with everyone doing their jobs and continuing to renew itself and correct mistakes and reach out as they always have. The main thing is it shows the church is worldwide and open to all people.

Are there any issues that you hope the new pope addresses?

No, I think the same issues they've been addressing all along, he'll continue working on them and spreading the message of the Catholic Church.

What does it mean to you that there is a pope from the Americas?

I think that it's a good sign. It shows that it's not just the old countries but the newness, the new evangelization that the church seeks and to renew itself in Christ and his teachings. I went to the church and we were asked to ring the bells. I went over and rang the bells for five minutes [to celebrate the new Pope].

Father Michael Roach, St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church, Manchester

How do you feel about the election of the new pope?

I think it went smoothly and more quickly than I thought it would go.

How do you think his election will change the Catholic church?

It certainly won't change the doctrines of the Catholic church, but I think it will change the approach that the church takes. The very name he took, St. Francis, shows a certain love for the poor, love for the people, and I think he'll get the church out and about a lot more. They won't wait for the people to come to the church, they'll bring the church to the people.

Are there any issues that you hope the new pope addresses?

I believe evangelization of the young people and the great battles we have to fight between the forces of secularism, materialism, consumerism and the truths of the gospel. There's a battle going on for the souls of the young.

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Monsignor Stuart Swetland, Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg

How do you feel about the election of the new pope?

It's a time of big joy for us here at Mount St. Mary's. It's going to be a pontificate of firsts: He's the first from the Americas, the first Jesuit and the first to take the name Francis.

How do you think his election will change the Catholic church?

I think it's going to be a time of renewal. Saint Francis was given a command by the Lord in his life to rebuild the church, to renew the church, and I think he chose Francis to emphasize that role of renewal and rebuilding the church.

Are there any issues that you hope the new pope addresses?

"I'm sure that he will be a big proponent of what's called the new evangelization. And that's where he finds new ways of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ."

What does it mean to you that it's the first pope from the Americas?

I believe that we're really seeing a very visible sign that we're a worldwide church. Half of the Catholics of the world are in the Americas, and the cardinals who elected Francis as our pope recognized that and chose a pope for the first time, in a very long time, [from] outside of Europe.

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