Carroll County Catholics celebrate announcement of new pope

Catholics in Carroll County joined those around the world in celebrating the announcement that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina had been named Pope Francis, the 266th pope, on Wednesday.

The new pope succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned Feb. 28.


"It is wonderful that the process has been completed," said Rev. Michael Roach, of St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester.

"It's a great day," he said. "With the retirement of Pope Benedict, there was a queasy feeling."


"I was ecstatic of learning who it was," said Rev. Monsignor Martin Feild, of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Taneytown. "I had no preconceived ideas. I was just waiting to see which one was elected."

Pope Francis, 76, hails from Buenos Aires. He is first pope from Latin America and the first Jesuit priest to be elected.

He was elected after the world's 115 cardinals held two days of conclave meetings and five rounds of voting before white smoke signaled the decision.

"The Jesuits are the largest, religious order," Roach said. "They were the first priests to preach here in Carroll County. They're always sort of cutting edge."

"He seemed to be humble," said Feild, of Francis. "He'll keep going the legacy of Pope Benedict but widen it and go forward ... for the good of us people."

Beverly Shaffer, office administrator and bookkeeper for St. Michael's Catholic Church in Mount Airy, said everyone was excited.

She admitted she was not familiar with the pope but was confident the decision was the right one for the church.

"Pope Francis, he's got a lot to do," Shaffer said and laughed. "His life will change forever now. I think he is a very fair pope and will make the right decisions."