SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Bishop John Wester says the Catholic Church “is grateful” to have Pope Francis as their leader.
“We in the Diocese of Salt Lake City are very, very grateful to almighty God for the gift of our new pope," says Bishop Wester in his first public comments since the election of Pope Francis.
And like so many others, Pope Francis was somewhat unknown to Bishop Wester when the pontiff was named to lead the Catholic Church.
But the bishop says Pope Francis is already offering insight as to who he is.
“It seems to me Pope Francis is communicating effectively through signs and symbols, gestures, of what he wears,” says the bishop.
He says the first homily offered by Pope Francis also showed “the humility” of the pope.
“(It) was a very simple homily that he gave from his heart,” says Bishop Wester. “It is clear that he is going to make his own path.”
The bishop says more than 70 percent of Utah Catholics are Latinos. He says that will be a plus.
“People like to have this affinity, connection with their leaders and this will help them to do that,” he says.
He says the announcement of Pope Francis during the Lenten season also is symbolic.
“This is a little glimpse of Easter ahead of time as we give thanks to God for this great gift to our church,” the bishop says.
Tuesday, the pope's installation mass will take place in the Vatican and the bishop also wants his Utah churches to honor Pope Francis Tuesday as well.