Local Catholics bid farewell to Pope Benedict XVI

February 28, 2013 8:46:39 PM PST
Catholics around the Philadelphia area were closely watching the events unfolding in Rome Thursday morning.

Many local worshippers took part in their own farewells to Pope Benedict.

The boys and girls of St. Dominic's School in Holmesburg prayed the rosary Thursday morning. They prayed for Pope Benedict who decided to take the unusual path of resigning, and they prayed for the new Pope who would come after him.

"We here at St. Dominic's and Catholics throughout the world are so grateful to God for Pope Benedict's example and his 8 years of service," said Sister Shaun Thomas Callahan, Principal.

In the coming days, 115 Cardinals from around the world will meet in Rome to select the Holy Father from among the group. The 1.2 million member church is not a democracy.

Action News asked local Catholics what qualities they think the new Pope should have.

"He needs to bring courage, humility, imitations of Jesus Christ," Scott LeClair of Merchantville said.

"For me, it's mercy, compassion, and love. They are the three things that will move us forward," Bobbi Bradley of Pennsauken said.

"Somebody who's just completely led by the Holy Spirit. When you see him, you know God is speaking through him, that he is Christ-like in everything," Bill Skorko of Pennsauken said.

"I'm hoping that he's a little more open-minded than the last one. He was still against gay marriage. I have quite a few friends in the gay and lesbian community and I would like him more open-minded," Brian Santora of Pennsauken said.

"What people are looking for is a sense of enthusiasm, and a sense of, even to a degree, at least in terms of what they see, credibility. And of course that is a great challenge, even here in Philadelphia because of the eruption, the implosion of this diocese practically more than any other in the U.S. because of the sex abuse crisis," said Palmo.

Palmo is based in Philadelphia and through his website has covered the Catholic Church for many years.

Palmo says the Pope will have to deal with many transgressions within the church, cover-ups and other irregularities, but he is also going to have zeal and enthusiasm to push the faith forward in the 21st Century.