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
Suspicious house fire under investigation
The Weatherford fire marshal says a fire that damaged a house and killed two puppies Wednesday night is being investigated as a suspicious fire and a suspect is in jail on unrelated charges.
Parker County Attorney John Forrest will ask county commissioners for additional funds as county budget discussions begin this year; he hopes to hire another attorney to help with an increase in Child Protective Services cases.
Firefighter arrested on child sex assault charges
A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period.
Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested Monday, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.
Developer withdraws site plan
ANNETTA —A controversial 34-home subdivision proposed for a 41-acre tract on Duncan Road will not go forward as planned, according to action taken by both the proposed developer and the Annetta Town Council after a public hearing Thursday night.
Aledo City Council to meet July 24
The Aledo City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24, in the Aledo Community Center, 104 Robinson Court, Aledo.
Fires damage business, home
Two separate fires around 2 p.m. July 15 damaged a Willow Park business and destroyed the home of a Weatherford family.
Letter to the Editor
Thursday night, July 17, I was present for a surprisingly interesting experience when State Representative candidate Matthew Britt addressed a small group of supporters, followed by a question and answer session.
ESD 1, Annetta South close on fire station site
Parker County Emergency Services District No. 1 and Annetta South officials said Tuesday that the ESD is homing in on a site for a new fire station to serve residents in the Annettas and surrounding areas. Annetta South is expected to consider a zoning change to accommodate a new station next month.
Registration has begun for Aledo ISD
Aledo ISD enrollment for the 2014-15 school year began yesterday, July 21, and students new to the district need to register before school begins, Monday, Aug. 25.
County scrambling to fill elections post
Former Parker County Assistant Elections Administrator Laura Watkins, who sought, but was not appointed to the post of Parker County Elections Administrator after Robert Parten retired, last week began work as assistant elections administrator for Palo Pinto County, Palo Pinto County Elections Administrator Judith Evans has confirmed.
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- Suspicious house fire under investigation