By Balitang America Staff

Mar. 13, 2013
The flag-waving crowd at St. Peter’s Square was cheering madly when Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope on Wednesday, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
In choosing a 76-year-old pope, cardinals clearly decided that they didn’t need a vigorous, young pope who would reign for decades but rather a seasoned, popular and humble pastor who would draw followers to the faith and help rebuild a church stained by scandal.
And while Filipino-American Catholics were disappointed that a fellow Filipino, contender Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, was not elected pontiff, they could not be prouder of Bergoglio.

“I’m excited to follow the leadership of the new pope,” said Father Albert Avelino, moderator of the Filipino Ministry in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, adding that he expects Bergoglio to continue Pope Benedict XVI’s work of strengthening people’s faith.

At the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Filipinos attended mass while the new pope was being announced.

“I’m so happy that we have a new pope. We’ve been waiting for a new leader for our church,” Alma Puroganan said.

“This is the first time a pope comes from an American continent. That really shows the importance of all of us on this continent as part of the universal church,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez.

In New Jersey, some Filipino Catholics called for Bergoglio to immediately address the sex abuse scandals that have tarnished the image of the Catholic Church.

-with reports from Steve Angeles, Henni Espinosa, Don Tagala and the Associated Press

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