Rochester, N.Y.—The ascension of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to Pope has many in Rochester’s Latin American community energized.
“It is like a big victory,” said Mario Escalante, a Catholic originally from El Salvador. “That’s telling me that with the Latino people also have the same talents or something to offer to the whole world.”
Brianna Brock comes from a Puerto Rican family, and like Escalante said the new Pope’s roots speak to all Latinos and Latinas.
“I like the whole Latino community,” said Brock. “To actually see a Latino Pope, it kind of warms my heart that we now have some one from our community.”
It isn't just Latinos heartened by the selection of a South American to Pontiff. Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark said he too is pleased with the choice.
“It’s very gratifying to me that we have a Holy Father from the western world and the southern hemisphere,” said Clark. “I think those combined make it a very exciting new experience for us.
Latin American and Caribbean Catholics made up nearly 40 percent of the world’s catholic population, according to the Pew Research Center. The United States has seven percent of the catholic population, also according to Pew Research Center.