Era of change could be coming with election of new pope - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Era of change could be coming with election of new pope

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Altoona (WQOW) - A local priest is excited about where Pope Francis comes from, and where Catholicism could be headed.

With the election of Pope Francis, the Roman Catholic Church ushered in a new era.

"He definitely had about him a more informal air, he spoke directly to the people as one of the people, and I would suspect that we would see a lot more changes, a lot more welcoming of young people, certainly," says Father Derek Sakowski, with St. Mary's Parish.

As times change, some say the centuries old religion must change with it. And it seems like the Vatican is on board to some degree, tweeting about the election of a new pope as the white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel.

"I think the one that was foremost in the minds of the Cardinals is evangelization. Even those of us in these parts of the world where most of us are Christians, we kind of have forgotten about Jesus Christ, he's no longer at the center of our lives, and to put Jesus back at the center, and to get to know the relevance of Christianity in their lives, that the Gospel still has profound meaning and value today, that's task number one," says Father Sakowski.

It remains to be seen what kind of change, if any, this new pope of firsts will bring.

"I think that may be an indication to people who are looking at the fact that the church is stayed and unwilling to change. This is a marked change and I think all of us are going to be kind of waiting and watching and seeing just exactly what's going to happen with this new Pope Francis," says Bishop William Callahan, with the Diocese of La Crosse.

Father Sakowski says he believes Pope Francis is a pope of the people.

His empathy will be needed for a church that has faced criticism of their handling of the sex abuse scandals.

Pope Francis is getting right to work. The Vatican says he will celebrate his first mass as pope Thursday.

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