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Oklahoma Catholics Celebrate Pope Francis
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK-- Thousands of Catholics in Oklahoma rejoiced as Pope Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Berguglio, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, emerged to the balcony in St. Peter's square.
"I think it's a wonderful gift that the holy spirit is giving us," said Father Roberto Quant, of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Father Quant leads the largest Hispanic congregation in Oklahoma City. As a native of Nicaragua, Father Quant says choosing the first pope from Latin America bears a special meaning to many Hispanic Americans in Oklahoma. He says Pope Francis' humble beginnings as a son of immigrant parents speaks to many church patrons at Sacred Heart.
"People leave Mexico, Central America, Nicaragua-- different other countries to look for a better life for the children, and so we are in the United States," said Father Quant, "he will bring that, because his family did that."
Pedro Moreno, the Director of Hispanic Ministry at the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City says he hopes a Latin American voice at the Vatican will bring new energy to the Catholic Church.
"That vigor of the church, and that joy, that fiesta celebration of the church in Latin America, it's very contagious," said Moreno, "and he's going to bring a little bit of that to the papacy."
Archbishop Paul Coakley says naming a new pope brings joy to all Catholics in Oklahoma.
"It's a big surprise to have an American, albeit, a Latin American sitting on the chair of Peter and governing the church," said Archbishop Coakley.
Coakley says choosing a pope from the Americas is a powerful reminder that gospel is universal.
"What he will be for all of us is a sign of unity," said Archbishop Coakley, "and a living icon of the person of Jesus Christ."
As Pope Francis begins his duties, Father Quant and Moreno believe Pope Francis will draw on his background as Archbishop in Buenos Aires and the experience of his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, to help serve Catholics and help the poor around the world.
"He's bringing that strength," said Moreno, "he's also bringing the strength of reaching out for the poor and just the whole social justice issue."
"The pain, the suffering of our people, have and live, and suffer every single day, I think he has it right here in his heart," said Father Quant.
A special celebratory mass for Pope Francis will be held at The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the mass begins at noon on Thursday.
Posted: Wednesday, March 13 2013, 09:41 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Motorists urged to avoid I-35 in Moore
May 23, 2013 13:43 GMT
MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma transportation officials say heavy traffic on Interstate 35 through Moore is hindering the tornado recovery effort.
The Transportation Department on Thursday asked motorists to avoid the area. The I-35 off-ramps in Moore are still restricted. The only people allowed to travel into Moore are residents and emergency responders.
Also, Oklahoma City police say Western Avenue between SW 164th and SW 134th is closed to all traffic. The closure will continue until utility crews finish installing new power lines.
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