By BRIAN SMITH
Catholics locally and around the world are celebrating last week’s election of a new Pope.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, chose Francis as his papal name. He will be the first to have the name and is also the first Jesuit to hold the honor. According to CNN.com, the name Francis symbolizes “poverty, humility, simplicity and the rebuilding of the Catholic Church.”
In the eyes of Aledo’s Holy Redeemer Catholic Church Monsignor Publius Xuereb, it’s those name-related attributes that will make him a great leader for the church.
“In the first five minutes after he was introduced to the public, he had stolen the hearts of the 1.2 billion Catholics he will be shepherding,” Xuereb said. “What I liked most is the fact he had asked those in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him, which in my memory had never been done. It showed a definite sign of humility and personification.”
When asked to pray, many of the crowd, estimated at 250,000, knelt down on the wet ground and did so.
“There was complete silence because of the shock of what he had just asked, and then the faithful did so,” Xuereb said.
The new pontiff will be expected to lead the church out of one of its most tumultuous times in history. Sexual abuse scandals in the U.S. and many people leaving the church because of what are considered “old-fashioned” ways have created challenges within the church. Xuereb says it’s not the pontiff’s job to make change, however.
“His job is to strengthen the faith of his flock and to strengthen himself,” Xuereb said. “This man makes you proud to be a Catholic after much of the harrassment that has been going on by the social media and mainstream media over the past few years. He is going to have to try to bring everyone together.”
With Easter considered a time of rebirth by Christians, the election of a new pope two weeks before Easter is perfect timing for the Catholic Church to be turned around, Xuereb said.
Many local parishioners feel the new pontiff, who is 76 years old, has a long road to hoe but feel confident he can do it.
“I like the way he seems very soft-spoken but appears ready to let his actions do his talking for him,” Jane Tomlinson, who attends St. Stephen’s in Weatherford, said. “I think it was a tremendous choice.”
Mark Pulkrabek, a Holy Redeemer parishioner, said he will need to wait a while before having any final say.
“I was under the impression that when John Paul II died, Benedict would be kind of like a fill-in until they could groom someone for the position, so to speak,” Pulkrabek said. “I was expecting someone younger, but they didn’t ask for my opinion.”
By BRIAN SMITH
- Aledo ExtrA
Watkins resigns from Place 4; Hiebert appointed
Aledo City Councilman Randy Watkins has resigned after moving out of the city limits.
City to celebrate 50th anniversary Saturday
Martha Daugherty Beckman, daughter of the City of Aledo’s first mayor, will be on hand to help the city celebrate 50 years of incorporation this Saturday, May 18, during a program beginning at 10 a.m. at the Aledo Community Center, 104 Robinson Court.
Back then: Aledo long-timer Freddy Detherage
Freddy Detherage has spent a lifetime in the Aledo area.
Back then: Aledo long-timer W. H. "Dub" Bearden
W. H. “Dub” Bearden, 83, knows a thing or two about Aledo.
Aledo Superintendent receives fond farewell
Family members, educators and many other well-wishers turned out to honor retiring Aledo ISD Superintendent Dan Manning Thursday afternoon at a reception held in the Daniel Ninth Grade Center.
Clay named top teacher
Vandagriff Elementary third grade teacher Catharine Clay was named “Teacher of the Year” during the Marva Collins Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony honoring Aledo ISD employees May 6 in the Aledo High School auditorium.
Vandagriff Elementary student teaches at Texas Wesleyan University
An Aledo ISD Vandagriff Elementary third-grader, 10-year-old Colby Tiberg, was a guest speaker in Professor Jackie Gaffner’s education class at Texas Wesleyan University recently.
He will also be featured in an upcoming issue of People magazine.
Man accused of burying his burned million-dollar home
Accused of dumping the burned debris of his million-dollar home in a large pit on his property, a Cresson-area man was arrested recently on an illegal dumping charge five months after the home burned.
Crown Valley opens as public golf course
Crown Valley Golf Club, which has been closed since former owners filed for bankruptcy in 2011, is now open to the public Fridays through Sundays, according to golf pro Brett Beaty.
Aledo High School ranked in top 5 percent
According to U.S. News & World Report, Aledo High School is once again ranked in the top 5 percent of public high schools in Texas with a ranking of 105 out of 1,870 schools.
- More Aledo ExtrA Headlines
- Watkins resigns from Place 4; Hiebert appointed