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Boston’s Spanish-Speaking Faithful Welcome Pope Francis

BOSTON — At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Wednesday night, Catholics celebrated a special Mass of Thanksgiving in Spanish for the election of Pope Francis.

People originally from all over Latin America, including Eduardo Perez, from El Salvador, came to the Mass. Perez said he felt very moved by the election 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the next pope.

“He speaks the same language we do,” he said. “So all the more reason for us to be happy.”

Volunteers hang papal bunting to signify the naming of a new pope, outside Cathedral of the Holy Cross, in Boston on Wednesday. (Steven Senne/AP)

Volunteers hang papal bunting to signify the naming of a new pope, outside Cathedral of the Holy Cross, in Boston on Wednesday. (Steven Senne/AP)

Volunteer Catherine Zamorano was handing out cards with a photo of the new pope greeting the crowd from the balcony at St. Peter’s Square.

Zamorano’s parents are from Mexico, but she’s from New York. She called the election of Pope Francis a beautiful opportunity for the church to get to know Hispanic culture, a 360-degree change, she said.

“It’s a great change. It’s definitely something beautiful that’s going on, a blessing to us in the church,” Zamorano said. “It’s definitely to make us realize that the church is composed of different cultures, different ethnicities, and we have a great variety.”

“He looks very humble, and that’s a good thing because that’s what represents who we are as Catholics, humbleness is one of the virtues that we have to have,” said Sania Rodriguez, of Venezuela. “So today we were jumping up and down, honestly.”

Father Mario Castaneda, of Colombia, presented the Mass. He met Cardinal Sean O’Malley when O’Malley was the bishop of Palm Beach. O’Malley brought him to Boston as his episcopal secretary.

“God has blessed us with a pope and a pope who speaks Spanish, for the glory of God,” Castaneda said in his homily. “And we ask God, above all, that this man not only speak Spanish, that this man speak the language of God, which is the language of love, the language of humility, the language of holiness, the language of giving yourself, the language of service.”

Castaneda preached with the verve and passion you might imagine the church would like to see more of as it tries to keep its faithful in Latin America from converting to evangelical Christianity.

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