(AP) – “I am happy there is a new leader, but I am even happier there is a pope who comes from the Third World,” parish priest Ariel Lubi said after hearing Mass at Manila’s church called the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Like Lubi, many Filipinos in Asia’s most populous Catholic nation were elated at the choice of an Argentinian pontiff.
“Now he is representing the countries of the Southern Hemisphere,” said Lubi, as his voice cracked with emotion. “This is where Christianity is booming.”
Romy Villanueva, a 52-year-old engineer who attended the early Thursday Mass in the half full church in a working class neighborhood, said he was impressed with the new pope’s humility.
“Unlike other popes who were up there on a pedestal, this pope asked for people to bless him, and not him blessing people,” he said. “What he wants to do is for the church to go down to the people.”
“For me, now it’s better there’s someone who will lead the church. Before, you didn’t know where the Roman Catholic Church was heading,” added Nora Esponera, a 63-year-old cook.
_Hrvoje Hranjski – Twitter
“Pope Live” follows the choice of the new pope as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)