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Saint Anselm Celebrates New Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis

March 13, 2013

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Saint Anselm College students, staff, and Benedictines watch and wait for Pope FrancisAs Argentina's Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis, Saint Anselm College joins in the world-wide celebration.

The news on campus of white smoke pouring from the Sistine Chapel evoked cheers amid the ringing of the bells. Crowds gathered in Campus Ministry among other places, where faculty, staff, students, and Benedictines watched the news, waiting together for the appearance of Pope Francis.

Fr. Anselm ran to the Abbey Church to trigger the pealing of the Alumni Hall bells when the news was announced.

"It was a really cool moment to know that every one around the world was finding out at the same time," said Molly White, class of 2015.

For many students this is the first opportunity they've had to understand what a papal transition signifies for the Catholic faithful. Sue Gabert '91, Director of Campus Ministry said, "Among students there is alot of interest in this election and a desire to be connected in a new way, even those who aren't Catholic are intrigued."

"Students are hopeful and seem to see in Pope Francis I a sense of humility and a desire to be connected to the people which is important to them," said Gabert. 

According to news reports, the new pope took the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor. In the college's live chat, Gabert said that some noted quotes associated with St. Francis are "Always preach the Gospel and if necessary use words," as well as "God speaking to Francis saying 'Francis rebuild my Church.'" She suggests those might be symbolic of Pope Francis' papacy.

While the future is papacy is still unknown, many are recognizing the pastoral tone of Pope Francis' history coupled with his name choice as signifying his more pastoral approach. "Saint Anselm students are very aware of our duty to the community," said White. "By taking the name Saint Francis, it may spark a renewed devotion to service."

Asked about Pope Francis, student Jimmy Leonard '15 noted that the tone, tenor, and emphasis on service is exciting. "It's a big message in taking the name Francis."

The college will celebrate Mass for Pope Francis on Wednesday, March 13 at 9 p.m. in the lower Abbey Church.

Saint Anselm in the News

WMUR-TV: "Catholics preparing for Pope Benedict XVI's retirement."
Interview with Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B.

Union Leader: "Pope's resignation stuns NH Catholics."
Interview with Fr. Jerome Day, O.S.B.

New Hampshire Public Radio: "New Hampshire Catholics And Their Hopes For A New Pope."
Interview with Fr. Benedict Guevin, O.S.B.

Union Leader: "Kinship with Pope elates Latinos."
Interview with Prof. Christine Gustafson, Ph.D.

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