New Pope Already a Big Hit at Medford Parish
St. Francis of Assisi Parish's pastor "loves" the name chosen by Pope Francis I.
For centuries, Roman Catholics have recounted the story of St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th-century Italian friar whose name adorns a Medford Catholic church on Fellsway West.
Parish pastor Father Ed Doughty recalled the story Wednesday night, hours after Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope by the conclave of cardinals and took the name Francis I.
Doughty said St. Francis was praying in front of a crucifix when Jesus Christ appeared to him, telling him to "rebuild my church."
"The choice of the name is significant," said Doughty, adding that present-day pastors and parishioners are attempting their own rebuilding of the church.
"(St. Francis) had wealth and gave it up to serve the poor," said Doughty. "Taking that name gives you hope that the Pope will be a person of simplicity."
Doughty said he loves the name and he's not the only one.
"Since the announcement, the one thing I have heard from all of the parishioners here is how much we all love the name," Doughty said.
"As an alumnus of St. Francis of Assisi School in Medford, I'm very happy to hear the name the Pope has chosen," wrote Medford Patch Facebook reader Mary Wickwire Ames. "God bless Pope Francis!"
The parochial school operated at the parish until 2010, according to their website.
As for the man himself, Doughty said he was intrigued to know that before becoming pope, Francis had spent his career in the regular ministry.
"He's not a Vatican insider," Doughty said. "He's been in the trenches with the people."
Right away, Doughty was impressed by what he saw from the new pope.
"He asked for people to pray for him as his first blessing," Doughty said. "I thought that was a very humble gesture and it says a lot about him."
There had been talk before Wednesday that Boston Archdiocese Cardinal Sean O'Malley was a potential favorite to be elected pope.
Doughty said he wasn't disappointed O'Malley was not chosen, saying O'Malley himself didn't think he'd become the pontiff.
"We have to hope (the cardinals) made the correct choice," Doughty saud.
Medford Patch is still collecting local reaction to Pope Francis I's election, with a few posts on our Facebook page to date.
"I hope this is a sign of change and rebuilding for the beleaguered Church," wrote Kris Assenheimer Plausky on our Facebook page. "I now have hope that we can see the Chruch do a 180 from where it was headed."