16-March-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Catholic colleges give thanks for new Pope

Leaders of Catholic colleges and universities have voiced gratitude for the election of Pope Francis and promised prayers as he leads the Catholic Church in charity and truth.

"The Catholic University of America is proud to congratulate Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio on his election as Pope," said John Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America on March 13.

"We are excited to move forward under the leadership of Pope Francis and we pray that the Catholic Church will grow under his guidance in wisdom and Christ's grace. And we hope to welcome him to our campus some day," he said.

On March 13, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected by the College of Cardinals as Pope. The first Jesuit Pope and the first Pope from Latin America, he took the name Francis in honor of the 13-century saint of Assisi.

The new Holy Father is known for his humility, care for the poor and commitment to Church teaching.

John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., the nation's first Jesuit university, said the Papal election was a "historical moment" for the Church.

"On this joyous day, we offer our prayers of thanksgiving and celebration for the new Holy Father, Pope Francis," he said.

"Our work at Georgetown is informed by the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order," said DeGioia. "This very same tradition played an essential role in the formation of our new Pope, and we have seen it expressed in his preference and care for the poor, his vow of poverty, and his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires."

"We are grateful to share this spiritual affinity with our new Pontiff." Fr. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president and CEO of Loyola University - also a Jesuit college - described the Pope "very deeply rooted in his - our - tradition."

"His selection as the first Jesuit elected to that most holy of offices comes as a surprise to most Jesuits, who see ourselves as working for the Holy Father on the frontiers of knowledge and service to humanity, and most importantly to the poor and marginalized," said Garanzini.

"Please join me in praying for Pope Francis and for our Church," he added. "It is our hope that together we can continue to inspire and engage women and men for lives of service to our communities and to the world."

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities called the election of Pope Francis "a truly historic day for the Society of Jesus."

"We pray that the Pope's grounding in Ignatian spirituality will guide him as he carries out this extraordinary calling to lead the Church of the 21st century," said Fr. Gregory F. Lucey, S.J., president of the organization.

The Cardinal Newman Society, an organization that works to "promote and defend faithful Catholic education," also spoke on the new Pope. The group has criticized numerous Jesuit universities, along with other colleges in the United States, for instances of dissent against Church teaching, "with many professors displaying great disrespect for the Vatican and the bishops."

Among the most prominent concerns voiced by the organization in recent years was Georgetown's invitation to Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to be a 2012 commencement speaker, despite the fact that Sebelius had issued a contraception mandate threatening the religious freedom of Catholic employers and colleges throughout the nation.

"The fact that God has provided a Jesuit as our new Holy Father has great significance for many Catholics, who have been hoping and praying that the New Evangelization will bring about the renewal of the Society of Jesus and its many schools and colleges," said the Cardinal Newman Society in a statement.

"We trust that he will continue the renewal of fidelity and Catholic identity in Catholic education, which Pope Benedict said was 'the most urgent internal challenge' facing the Church in the United States."

Fr. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame, also offered his prayers for Pope Francis.

"We at Notre Dame join the Church in rejoicing in the election of Pope Francis, the first pontiff from the Americas," said Father Jenkins.

"He is known as a humble and holy servant of the Church whose simple life and concern for the poor make his choice of the name Francis particularly appropriate. We pray for Pope Francis as he begins his pontificate."

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=7263#ixzz2NvqDn0Xv

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