Spokane bishop hopes Americans rally around Pope Francis




Posted on March 13, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 3:32 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Bishop Blase Cupich of the Spokane Diocese said he had an idea that the next leader of the Catholic Church would come from Argentina.

Bishop Cupich has not met the new pope but says he has a strong reputation for caring about the poor and leading a major archdiocese within the church.

The bishop watched alone with the rest of the world Wednesday morning as the white smoke billowed from the chimney in Vatican City and the church announced its new leader.

“It’s a great moment for the life of the church and we’re just very joyful,” he said.

While he wasn’t expecting any one Cardinal to become the next leader of the church, he did have a late tip from someone overseas about who it might be.

“I received an email from someone in Rome who said watch out for Bergoglio.”

Some Catholics in this country hoped the new pope might come from the United States, but Cupich believes they should still celebrate the selection.

“In a way, he is an American Cardinal-- a South American Cardinal. It is more significant that they didn’t choose someone from Europe.”
Within the first few hours as everyone announced their initial impressions of Pope Francis I, Cupich appreciated the words the new pope chose as he spoke to the world.

“In a way, he was being very inclusive to join him in prayer and his ministry.”

Bishop Cupich usually travels to Rome every other year, but happened to go twice last year. He often travels as part of his responsibilities, but says even if he makes it to Rome soon to meet the pope, it will likely be a brief meeting.