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Local celebrations for new pope
WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Catholics around the world are buzzing as they continue to learn more about their new pope.
Pope Francis was greeted by a cheering crowd in St. Peter's Square as he made his first public appearance.
Jorge Bergoglio is the 266th pope and the first one from the Americas.
Pope Francis will celebrate his first mass with cardinals Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, here in Kalamazoo there will be a mass to celebrate the new pope.
We had a chance to sit down with Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley, who tells us this is a very exciting time. Bishop Bradley says he's still learning about the new pope, just as most of us are.
He says Pope Francis was not on the radar as a top choice, but now that he has been picked there is a lot of excitement and hope for the future.
Bradley tells us Pope Francis has a lot of warmth and compassion and is the type of person who will reach out to the people, which is just what the church needs right now.
"My hope is that he's going to be one who will be inviting, be welcoming, be inspiring to people that will really want to pursue, either continue to remind strong in their faith or thinking about maybe this is something that I need to listen to," said Bishop Bradley.
In celebration of Pope Francis, the Diocese of Kalamazoo will be holding a special mass at 12:10 Thursday. It will be held at St. Augustine's Cathedral.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids will also hold a mass at noon Thursday. That will take place inside St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Grand Rapids.
Bishop Bradley also tells us he has a trip to Rome planned for the week after Easter and he's excited to get to meet the new pope during that time.