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Local Catholics Celebrate New Pope

Special masses were said in Catholic churches in the region today to mark the installation of  Pope Francis.  

   About 200 people braved a snowstorm to attend a noon mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield, where Bishop Timothy McDonnell declared it a day to rejoice.

   The mass in Springfield took place several hours after the installation mass  for the new pope was held under bright blue skies in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican . The crowd there was estimated at between 150,000- 200,000 people.

   Bishop McDonnell pointed to a moment during the ceremony in Rome, when the pope left his vehicle to bless a disabled man.

   Pope Francis has demonstrated a common man’s touch in his early days as leader of the world’s Catholics. Its impressed Dave  Vigneault, a regular parishioner at St Michael’s

   No one is more overjoyed with the new pope than Latino Catholics who are celebrating the first pointiff from Latin America .  Andres Lopez is director of Latino Ministry.

   Leida Ramos watched the installation mass for the pope on T.V. before coming to St Michael’s to worship.

   Pope Francis , who hails from Argentina , during his homily in Rome urged people to protect the environment, the weakest and the poor.  Father William Pomerleau, a senior correspondent with Catholic Communications said the pope’s priorities are not new.

   Could there be a new emphasis on social justice issues in the American Catholic church?

   Bishop McDonnell said he doubts he’ll get a chance to meet the new pope, because the bishop is due to retire soon.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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