More than 1.8 million Catholics in Greater Boston have a new living head of their religion and it didn’t take long for some of them to express their thoughts on what the new pope should do in his tenure.
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Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was introduced to the world as Pope Francis I on Wednesday. The 76-year-old from Argentina will now serve as the living head of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.
Standing outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End Wednesday, Giovanni Tomassi said he hoped that the new pope would work on outreach.
“I want to see if he can attract more young people to the Catholic religion,” said the 27-year-old from the Boston area, adding that the pope should add more programs and churches for youth.
At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End, workers hung yellow bunting on the doors to honor the new pope and the church’s bells rang. A Mass honoring Pope Francis I is scheduled to be held today at the church.
Media from as far as Rhode Island and New York City came to the church in the event that Archdiocese of Boston head Cardinal Sean O’Malley was elected pope, but that wasn’t the case.
O’Malley was at first thought of as a long shot for pope because of his being from the United States and his being a Franciscan Capuchin. But as the conclave got underway, O’Malley’s name circulated as a possible candidate.
In a statement, O’Malley said he gave thanks to God for the election of Pope Francis I.
“The world will greatly benefit from Pope Francis witnessing Jesus’ call for us to love God and love one another,” O’Malley said in the statement.
Tomassi said he was “glued to the TV” as the white smoke came from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. While he was rooting for O’Malley, he wasn’t disappointed that someone else was elected.
“It would have been nice to see O’Malley [elected pope], but what are you going to do,” Tomassi said.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.