Southern Arizona Catholics answer call to do papal 'favor'
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - With hands folded, heads bowed and thoughts in prayer, Catholic congregations across Southern Arizona answered a call from the new pope to do him a “favor.”
"First, I ask a favor from you before the bishop blesses you,” Pope Francis told those gathered at St. Peter's Square Wednesday. “I ask you pray to the Lord so that he blesses me so that the prayer of the people will bring down the blessing of God.” His words were translated into English while broadcast live.
In Tucson, members of Our Mother of Sorrows and other churches listened and answered the call.
“I was profoundly moved today when he bowed his head and asked the people to pray for him,” said Monsignor Thomas Cahalane at the parish.
Cahalane led those prayers during evening Mass on the east side.
He said Pope Francis actually answered his prayers. The priest had hoped for a leader from a new place.
“Why? Because the church is universal,” Cahalane said. “We have a universal church and it's no longer European-centered. The majority of Catholics live in the Third World today.”
KGUN9 News reporter Kevin Keen asked him, “When you pray for him, what will you be thinking about?”
“I will be praying particularly that he will be a pastor-pope, that he will continue to minister in a very humble style, that he will be a pope of the people,” he said.
Among those people: parishioner Deborah Sojourner.
“I've been Catholic a little less than two years,” Sojourner said, “so this is the first pope elected while I’ve been a member of the church. I feel that I will follow his teachings and his career much more closely.”
Sojourner also answered the call to prayer.
“I'll be praying that he's guided by the Holy Spirit,” she explained, “that he's a good shepherd for the church and (that) whatever changes he may make are guided by God.”
Adding to the prayers for the new pope, the bishop of the Tucson diocese will hold a special Friday noon mass at St. Augustine downtown.