MILWAUKEE (WSAU) The new Catholic pope is the first to come from the Jesuit order – and that creates special ties with the Jesuit-based Marquette University in Milwaukee.
Marquette president Scott Pilarz called the choice of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio “energizing.” Pilarz said the Jesuits are the only religious order to take a vow of obedience to the pope to go anywhere they’re needed. Marquette’s leader also found special significance in the name the new pontiff chose for himself, Francis. Pilarz said Francis Xavier was a close friend of Jesuit founder Ignatius Loyola. Other suggested that the name was meant to honor Francis of Assisi, who like Bergoglio is known for his work with the poor.
The first thing the new pontiff did was to ask Catholics to pray for him – and that’s what Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki did when he held a Mass at a seminary soon after the new pontiff was named. Listecki was surprised that it took only two days for the 115 voting cardinals to choose the new Pope Francis. He thought it would take 4-or-5 days.
Father Tom Lawler, head of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, called it an “exciting and humbling time” for Catholics, and especially for the Jesuit order. Others said it signals a fresh start in a church that’s struggling with scandals. The Milwaukee Archdiocese will hold a formal Mass to celebrate the new papacy on Sunday at Milwaukee’s Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist.